22 Apr Shining the spotlight on District Nurses
Caption: TDHS District Nursing Coordinator Sherryl Mueller and District Nurse Corry Kerr head off with their toolboxes for another day seeing patients in their homes and workplaces.
Every morning, a small army of nurses walk out of Timboon and District Healthcare Service (TDHS) with their toolboxes and a list of patients to visit in the community.
Instead of having patients on the ward, District Nurses service in-home patients. It’s an area of nursing the team says is growing and becoming more specialised.
TDHS District Nursing Coordinator Sherryl Mueller heads up the team, which consists of other permanent members Corry Kerr and Linda Robertson.
Ms Mueller said five other nurses were part of the casual District Nursing team and they all worked together to support the elderly, unwell and post-acute patients in the community.
“A lot of the people we see are Home and Community Care (HACC) clients who are under 65 or Commonwealth Home Support Program clients who are over 65,” she said.
“There are also patients who have been discharged from hospital to continue their recovery and need a high level of care.
“You need acute experience to be a District Nurse, so more often than not it is something that follows a period of nursing on the ward.
“You are very autonomous and exposed when you are out there seeing people on your own, so a solid background in nursing is the usual path.”
Ms Kerr said her days were filled with a lot of variety and she found the job very rewarding.
“We do wound dressing, catheter care, personal care, blood pressure and blood glucose monitoring, oncology, blood tests, injections, IV infusions and things like port flushes for people who are having IV treatments such as chemotherapy,” she said.
“I think right across healthcare we are seeing more acute patients going home to continue their recovery and with that comes the need for District Nurses.”
Ms Robertson said many people preferred not to stay on the ward and found it more comfortable to stay at home and receive visits from a District Nurse instead.
“A lot of the people we see are really quite unwell and they need our assistance to stay in their home. The extension of that is providing people with palliative care so that they can stay at home to the very end,” she said.
“That’s always hard, but I also find it very rewarding as well to go on that journey with a family and be there to support them in that moment.”
This story in our fourth monthly instalment to help mark 2020 the Year of the Nurse and Midwife. The whole series can be found here https://www.timboonhealthcare.com.au/category/year-of-the-nurse/
Nurses make up a significant proportion of our workforce and TDHS would not be able to run without their dedication, skill and compassionate care. We are very excited to be celebrating their valuable contributions throughout the year. We hope you join us in recognising and thanking our nurses.