Community Nursing Roles

May 22, 2015

Article by Global Pre-Meds
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Catching up with the midwives on the ward If you are looking for a nursing role that is more focused on the community rather than within a hospital, here are a few of many options that you can choose from. Many of these will require you to undergo further training after qualifying in one of the four main branches of nursing – adult, child, mental health or learning disability.

School Nurse

School nurses may be employed directly by a school or by a local health authority. They provide a wide range of services from carrying out developmental screening and administering immunisation programmes to undertaking health interviews and providing health and sex education within schools. Outstanding communication skills, lots of patience and a non-judgmental attitude are essential attributes for anyone wishing to pursue a career as a school nurse.

General Practice Nurse

General Practice Nurses are an important part of delivering care in general practice. These nurses work in GP surgeries as part of the primary healthcare team, which may include doctors, dieticians, physiotherapists and pharmacists. In smaller practices general practice nurses may work on their own, taking on various roles and responsibilities, whereas in a larger practice they may be one of several nurses sharing assorted duties and responsibilities.

District Nurse

District nurses visit people in their own homes or in residential care homes, where they provide increasingly complex care for patients and supporting family members. They assess the healthcare needs of patients and families, monitor the quality of care they are receiving and are accountable for delivery of care. District nurses play a crucial role in reducing hospital admissions and readmissions and ensuring that patients can return to their own homes as soon as possible.

Prison Nursing

Prison nurses may be employed directly by the prison service or by the NHS. The work they do is similar to that of a general practice nurse, except that it is more challenging with a higher number of patients requiring help for substance abuse and mental health problems. To work as a prison nurse you will need to be a qualified registered nurse and you will undergo have to undergo training in prison-related aspects of nursing. This is in addition to normal continuing professional development (CPD) activities. Because of the partnership between the NHS and the prison service, prison nurses have access to work and development opportunities in both organisations at the same time.

Community Matron

Community matrons work closely with patients in the community to plan and provide organise their care. They are very experienced senior nurses and generally work with patients suffering from a serious long term condition or a complex range of conditions. In addition to providing nursing care, these nurses also act as case managers and are a single point of contact for care, advice and support to their patients.

A student taking a patient's blood pressure in a Tanzanian hospital.

Occupational Health Nurse

Occupational health nurses work in a wide range of settings mainly health services, education, commerce and industry. Part of their responsibilities includes workplace and workforce monitoring and health assessment, promotion of healthy living and working conditions and workplace risk assessment and risk management. They can be employed as independent practitioners or as part of an occupational health service team, often attached to a personnel or HR department. You will need to be a qualified RN before applying for an occupational health post.