Diane Forster talks about opportunities to specialise in community nursing
With many routes and opportunities to specialise available, becoming a community nurse might just be the career path for you.
Working in community nursing offers many development opportunities to specialise in specific areas of care, as well as different educational routes to get there.
Areas to specialise in include palliative care, so we spoke to Diane Forster who specialised in palliative care and is now a Team Leader for MCST (Macmillan Care Support Team) in the North East. She shares her insights into the different opportunities available within the community nursing sector and her experience of specialising.
“Community nurses that work as part of a district team may have the opportunity to lead a specific area of care, which will see them develop into a more specialist and senior role.
“We provide in house training for professional development and there are also great opportunities for university-based accreditation modules to develop your role within a community setting.
“Community nurses have the opportunity to work with and alongside many other healthcare and social welfare professionals too, which is an insightful way to learn and develop your understanding as part of a wider community nursing picture.
“Specialising in an area of care, no matter how senior, still brings with it the requirement to offer well-rounded knowledge, care and support. Although you may be an expert in heart failure, for example, it’s not until you enter a patient’s home that you know exactly what care they require, and in some cases, you may need to carry out support outside of your ‘specialist’ area. To specialise in a chosen area, you will first need rounded experience so you can carry out varied care, and then train in a specific area that you have particular passion or interest for.”
Diane has worked in community nursing for 22 years, and she said working in the community allows you to be involved with patients and their families, and it’s a real privilege to work in the community. “Patients often open up to the community nurses who are visiting their homes, and have a huge amount of trust and respect for them – they’re often the only person they’ll see that day, which makes the job even more rewarding, knowing you’re helping to reduce that patient’s feeling of loneliness or isolation.”
If you’re looking to begin a career in community nursing or for more information on how to specialise, click here