In September 2013 the QNI released a resource for nurses starting a first post with a district nursing team: Transition to Community Nursing Practice.
The resource covers the wider context of community nursing and the legal and professional issues to be considered when working independently in the homes of patients and their carers. It also includes many clinical scenarios faced by the district nursing team and the considerations required when addressing patients' health needs in the home, rather than in the hospital environment.
The facility for a 'cloud-based', portable portfolio is also included, along with the recommendation to set individual learning outcomes and to identify a mentor to support practice-based learning, as the reader works through the resource.
The resource has been very well received. The initial feedback led to the resource being published in print and many universities now order copies for students going on a community placement. This was an unexpected audience and reflects a welcome focus on learning about community nursing at an early stage.
We have also received feedback from service providers that the resource is being used to enhance induction programmes, with nurses new to the community being required to complete the resource as evidence of their learning.
Following this response, the QNI has identified a need to develop two further resources to support nurses moving to school nursing and general practice nursing.
There was a clear message from practice to the QNI, underlining the range of knowledge and skills required to support working in different contexts and roles in the community. The QNI will develop these new resources with frontline practitioners and experienced academic leaders over the next six months.
While there are differences in our knowledge and skills, there are principles and values shared in the family of community nursing. This includes the focus on the community as a place where people spend their lives and where most would prefer to be cared for, whenever it is safe to do so.
Crystal Oldman, chief executive, Queen's Nursing Institute