horsham community nurses
Meet our Horsham community nurses
29 July 2014

Spotlight on our Horsham community nursing team

Alison Holman is the team leader for the 29-strong community nursing team covering Horsham and the surrounding area. “We are a hard working team,” says Alison. “I would describe us as strong characters - you need to be to go out there on your own every day. We are self-reliant and resilient which helps us to prepare for whatever might come our way during the day.

“Anyone who is housebound and registered with a Horsham GP can use our service and referrals will come through from GPs, hospitals or patients’ relatives. Our service runs from 8am to 6pm (everyday including weekends and bank holidays) and each nurse will see approximately 10 to 15 patients every day.”

Describing a typical day, Lynne Bashford, community staff nurse, says: “My day is very dependent on my patients, so it is almost impossible to predict what each day will bring. We have to be prepared for anything.

“We sometimes see patients as a one-off but more typically we see repeat patients who have long-term complex conditions. Common conditions we see are diabetes, asthma, cancer, multiple sclerosis, wound and catheter management and many other patients nursing needs.

“Healthcare is changing and the move is to now to care for patients at home and move them on from the acute setting quickly. We respond to this need by constantly updating our skills and taking new training courses.”

Caring for our patients

Senior staff nurse, Jess Lee, describes the importance of building good relationships with patients: “Some of our patients are socially isolated. They live on their own and are lonely. It’s vital that we build a good rapport with all our patients so that they can trust us and we can understand their needs and signpost them to other services and information sources such as Age Concern.

“End of life care is an important area of us. We know people want die at home and we want to do our best for them. We work closely with our local Hospice colleagues and will sometimes refer our patients to them directly.

“We are now covering a wider area and are seeing more and more patients,” explains Alison. “Our long-term aim is to help educate our patients so that they know how to manage their own condition and look after themselves and know where to get advice and support along the way.”

Training and development

Fiona Heath, district nursing sister, has worked at Horsham Hospital for eight years. “Community nursing is a profession that is constantly evolving so we are always updating our skills. We have to be ready to turn our hand to anything, which is what makes it so challenging but also varied and exciting.”

Jess adds: “I’ve worked here for 10 years and I wouldn’t work anywhere else. Every day is a new challenge and I love it. I enjoy the fact that I can manage and plan my own day around the needs of my patients.”

Working together

The Horsham Hospital based team benefit from working closely with other teams based on the same site such as our community neurological rehabilitation team, admission avoidance team, falls and fracture prevention team, tissue viability service and the heart failure service. Our proactive care team is also based at the hospital.

Jess explains: “Our role has changed dramatically in recent years. We now work closely with other teams and share knowledge and advise on areas of specialism. A huge benefit is that we are based on the same site as our other colleagues so we can support one another throughout the working day. This is a huge bonus to us and of course to our patients.”

The team also work very closely with local GPs as Fiona explains: “We meet with our GP colleagues every day and regularly discuss patient matters as and when required. This includes weekly meetings when one of our team will attend to help assess and discuss particular patients.”

The changing face of community nursing

Looking to the future, Alison admits that she is keeping an open mind, “We are aware that patient’s needs are expanding and we are facing a changing and challenging environment. We are often the first port of call during a crisis and have to be ready to respond every time. I’m ambitious for the future of our team and look forward to continuing to work more closely with our other colleagues in the future.”

Contact our community nursing team.