My DCHS Blog

What’s it like being a community nurse?

Anneka Johnson is a community staff nurse based at the Village Community Medical Centre in Derby. She joined DCHS in October 2015. Anneka chatted to us about her life as a community nurse and describes her typical day.

How long have you worked for DCHS?

I qualified as a district nurse two and a half years ago and joined DCHS soon after that. I did my management placement with the charnwood team and loved it! That experience inspired me to apply and I got lucky!

What is it about working in the community that works for you?

I really like visiting patients in their own homes; the patients become ‘people’ and appear a lot more settled. I love the way you can build up a relationship with them over a period of time, and really get to know them. But I think I also really like being ‘autonomous’; working on my own, making decisions and making things happen for the people I care for. For me, the DCHS approach of individualised care really makes sense – one size doesn’t fit all.

What does an average day look like for you?

We basically work one of three shifts – early 08.00-16.00, day 08.30-16.30 or late 10.00-18.00. If I am on the early shift I go to the office and collate the requests from the overnight services and care homes, and triage and task colleagues to deal with these patients.

Then I download my list and mobile working so I have a back-up system, work out my route and set off to see patients.

If I'm on the day or long shift  login at home, check my allocation (download my list), plan my day ahead and my preferred route. We have a traffic light system to help me prioritise my work flow – red - if I don’t treat them urgently their situation could be life threatening; amber – these are patients I need to see daily or as a follow up from an urgent visit and green – these are non-urgent patients, although they will become amber or red if I fail to see them within a couple of days. I use my clinical judgement to assign a flag to my patient allocation.

I then go back to base for the 13.30 handover meeting. This is a really important part of each day. We discuss who we have seen and share any important information from our morning visits – for example information about individual patients who may need a repeat visit later in the day; re-distribute lists, collect dressings or other equipment and then go out on afternoon visits. I don’t go back to base again until the following day.