Each year in September, the Nursing in the Community Faculty celebrate Nursing in the Community Week to highlight the valuable and sometimes hidden ways nurses contribute to the community. As part of the 2022 celebrations, three community nurses have shared what a typical day in their life is as part of NurseClick’s A Day in the Life series.
Today is Catherine Hillan, who is sharing with us what a day is like working as a Community Registered Nurse.
What is a Community Registered Nurse?
While I enjoyed the fast pace and learning opportunities in the hospital system, I was finding increasingly that so many patients rotated quickly through the system, and their care was focused solely on treating and managing their specific health conditions.
I believe that it is crucial to build a rapport and long-term relationship with patients to fully understand their context at home, the challenges they face and their lifestyle and priorities. Therefore, I decided to give community nursing a go, and in 2016 applied and never looked back!
I found the autonomy a challenge at first, having been used to the heavily supervised environment of the hospital system. As a community nurse, I quickly realised how important it is to become the driving force of a consumer’s care by coordinating and liaising with a range of allied health and medical specialists, as well as becoming an advocate on behalf of consumers. Where I work, I have been supported to build long-term relationships with consumers, and this is now my favourite part of working in the community.
A day in my life as a Community Nurse involves meeting new consumers who have been referred by hospitals, GPs, Hospital Casemix Protocol (HCP) managers, and a range of other health professionals.
I spend time discussing their overall health history, goals of care, support network, and developing a care plan and routine that suits their lifestyles. Consumers’ care needs range from personal care assistance, wound care, catheter management, medication management, palliative care, continence assessment and management, to providing oversight on consumer clinical care on behalf of external health providers.
Essentially, doing anything I can to keep consumers healthy and safe as possible in the comfort of their own homes. As a Community Nurse, I also provide a point of contact for the team of Support Workers and other Community Nurses and we all liaise together about consumer issues, with the support of the Clinical Excellence Team and administrative teams in the office.
The long-term positive working relationships formed with my Team Members has become a highlight of working as a community nurse.
Catherine Hillan is a community nurse with Regal Health and became a nurse after being inspired by her mother. Since graduating with a Bachelor of Nursing degree from Adelaide University in 2010, Catherine has worked in the private hospital system, in orthopaedics, general medical and surgical, then specialising in cardiac nursing. Catherine moved to Sydney in 2015 with her husband and pet cat Scorpio. In Catherine’s spare time, she enjoys travelling, trying new foods, outdoor activities, and working on her Thai kickboxing skills.