Earlier this year, I accompanied Pamela Shaw, a health visitor, on a client visit near Wakefield, where I saw for myself some of the wide varieties of ways in which community nurses make a difference every day – contributing widely to public health by improving outcomes for children, families and communities with the aim of reducing inequalities and shaping services for the future. I welcomed this opportunity as we have been working on developing the expansion of the health visiting service.
Judith Shamian, president of the International Council of Nurses, said: 'As the largest group of health professionals, who are the closest and often the only available health workers to the population, nurses have a great responsibility to improve the health of the population'. For community nurses, this quote is not only a daily reality, but also something to be proud of.
Increasingly, nursing in the community involves working in partnership with patients, carers and local communities, as well as with a range of other professional and voluntary organisations, to deliver care that is genuinely coordinated around what people need and want. This is a crucial element in implementing NHS England's Five Year Forward View's focus on bridging the gap between primary, community and acute care.
The growing and developing role of community nurses covers prevention and public health, empowering patients and citizens with evidence based support, engaging with communities, using new technology, providing direct care to those with complex needs, and improving the quality of patient safety, patient experience and clinical effectiveness.
Central to all of this are the values of the 6Cs: care, compassion, communication, competence, commitment and courage.
I am proud of how community nurses live these values every day, and of what they are achieving in delivering safe, quality and compassionate care to patients and communities.
Jane Cummings, chief nursing officer, NHS England