Not that Monday morning makes that much difference to me, I’m a stay at home mum at the moment, so I don’t go back to work on the Monday. I have found being a stay at home mum a very hard experience in such a lot of ways, challenging! Not quite how I originally envisaged it – skipping along in fields covered in daisies etc etc. However, I cannot express enough how grateful I am for being able to do it and how grateful I am for my children and this time with them. The days when I was pregnant and rushing around in the morning feeling so sick and tired and then going to work as a district nursing sister with a lot of responsibility and a challenging environment (for a number of reasons, the main one being a lot of work and not enough staff) are over! for now…
This was me! 8 years ago!
I do like challenges and I am one of those people who has always worked better under pressure and tends to get a bit lazy sometimes when there is none, but! I think (from experience) you can only sustain high levels of activity and problem solving for a while, then you need a break. If you don’t get one, you either just get tired and keep going anyway, which probably means you don’t work to the best of your ability or you burn out.
I haven’t worked in healthcare now for just over 3 1/2 years but it has been a good break. The NHS is so good, but there are also so many things wrong with the way it works, and quite frequently in the way it treats its nurses. Also, in the way the public often treats the nurses, in a lot of ways I found the professional capabilities and decision making skills of the nurses were undermined in favour of a demanding patient, who, for example, wanted their ears syringing and they wanted them doing “now!” even though there may not even be the capacity on that particular day/week/month to do so. Even worse, the demanding ones were quite frequently the ones who could actually make an appointment and get out to a surgery, but did not want to, often because historically they had been seen by the district nursing team. Because of public opinion of the nurses/NHS starting to matter more than the actual team and their capacity/capabilities/professional decision making it had seemed in many ways to be the ‘he who shouts loudest gets the best care service’.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved community nursing, the teams I was part of and the people I met and the patients, whatever they were like. I loved the organisation involved in being the sister in charge of the team and I actually quite often liked the people in management too. I don’t like the whole slag the managers off mentality very much. But it is hard work and when I worked there, the nurses did not have the support they needed. I think this was probably a much bigger issue than the local primary care trust, it was more a funding/national issue. It was always put to you that you could work smarter rather than have more staff and sometimes you could. But it is very hard to work smarter when you are just working fending off phone calls, dealing with low staffing levels, and quite frequently low staff morale, seeing seriously ill patients and always trying, trying, trying to give the best care possible. Exhausting.
So, you community health care professionals out there, you nurses, you doctors, you matrons, specialist nurses, OT’s, physio’s, podiatrists, managers! admin staff and anyone else I have forgotten, you are so talented, so committed, so good at what you do. Keep on keeping on, do the best you can. You community nurses are some of the most dedicated people I have ever met and it was most definitely a gift to be part of that group, although tough. People need to know that, it is not just meandering around ‘popping’ in to see patients, just to check up on them. It is a serious, professional, skilled job, managing complex patients with various problems and with the addition of all the documentation requirements, very, very time consuming. There are so many challenges, but it is worthwhile, I learnt so much from all the different patients I met over the years, I loved that part of it, meeting them and seeing how we could help them or work with them.
This post did not set out to go on about district nursing, it just turned out like that. My sincerest love to all I have worked with and I just want you to know you are brilliant and God loves you! (had to get that in).