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District Nursing update from Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust

Many nurses who join Guy's and St Thomas' district nursing service are either newly qualified or new to community nursing.

To help them settle in GSTT's have developed the Transition programme for new nursing staff, which is part of their daily routine for their first six months with the Trust.

Charlotte Hazlewood, who joined the district nursing service as a newly qualified nurse in September 2015, shares her experiences:

"The most common reaction from my peers when I told them I was going to work in the community was that I would become de-skilled and spend my days administering insulin.

"Yes, we do provide insulin - every day, sometimes twice a day. But what we do is so much more than that. We give long, short, intermediate and mixed insulin. We administer oral medication and deal with hypos, hypers and ketoacidosis.

"We see patients who need any number of interventions ranging from wound care, catheter care, PEGs, RIGs, drains, PICC lines, midlines, Syringe drivers, palliative and end-of-life care.

"This, of course, does not include the other duties we may undertake like booking appointments and transport, referring on to other agencies, sorting out prescriptions and helping patients fill out forms.

"It's vital that we work closely with GPs, pharmacists, specialist diabetic nurses, hospitals, social services, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and keep a patient's family and friends in the loop.

"The transition programme has enabled me to build skills in areas I encountered only briefly during training or in practice. As well as gaining skills we get to meet other specialties working in the community. This means we are able to make effective referrals.

"Once the main study days have finished we receive clinical supervision from our named preceptor. There is also a wealth of experience from the rest of the nursing team and a lot of thinking on your feet.

"The transition programme has given me confidence to work as an autonomous practitioner in a challenging inner city area."

Anita Macro, Deputy Head of Nursing, District Nursing, says: "The Transition programme has revolutionised our approach to supporting the learning and development of nurses who are new to district nursing.

"Training and supervision is provided in a very structured format and covers all of the key skills needed in the work area.

"By signing off competence in practice we ensure that what is learned in the classroom is applied in practice.

"Nurses in each cohort form strong contact and support groups and maintain contact with each other for support and friendship.

"It's great to see the competent and confident practitioners that come out of the programme."