Better training for community nurses and patient-centred care were two of the main issues raised at the Queen's Nursing Institute (QNI) Healthcare at Home conference on 25 September in London.
A selection of speakers and delegates from across the country gathered to discuss issues that affect the community nursing workforce.
The morning was divided into two topics; issues and solutions.
The 'issues' session highlighted what patients wanted in their care. Jeremy Taylor, the chief executive of National Voices, a health and social care charity coalition, said that the aim was to promote patient-centred care, which meant providing better integration between acute and primary care.
Rob Webster, the chief executive of Leeds community NHS trust, added that the work of district nurses is often ignored as it all occurs behind closed doors but suggested care given outside of hospitals was the future of NHS care, based on what patients wanted and what services could realistically deliver. He said that in Birmingham there were more beds in the community than the whole of the acute services and discussed how reallocation of where care is delievered could be best managed and where community nurses fit into this. He also said that general practice had the finest database in the world but it did not use it well enough, it needed to be restructured and used as a single gateway into healthcare.
Eileen Sills, chief nurse and director of patient experience at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, spoke about how the trust was piloting the integration of acute and primary care.
The 'solutions' session focused on improving education for nurses.
Dr Lisa Bayliss-Pratt, the director of nursing for Health Education England (HEE), spoke of the importance of innovation in education by introducing schemes such as pre-degree clinical experience and situation judgement tests.
Professor Ieuan Ellis, the chair of the Council of Deans for Health and professor of healthcare education at Leeds Metropolitan University, emphasised the need for good clinical placements and mentors. He said a major cause of dropouts was down to a bad experience during placements and students often decided their specialisms based on placement experience.
One of the main questions of the morning was about a national plan for education and training, which had not been completely addressed. Hilary Garrett, the director of nursing for NHS England said that NHS England was working on a five-10-year plan, but the responsibility would remain with the 13 Local Education and Training Boards (LETBs).
The afternoon seminars centred around using social media, measuring quality in the community and an electronic system to help with time and resource management in the community in Stockport.
The day concluded with the launch of a learning resource for community nurses which is available at http://bit.ly/192f9Yf.