Year of the Nurse - Newly qualified and ready for action, a journey into community practice nursing
As part of our Year of the Nurse and Midwife celebrations, we have been speaking to the inspirational nurses working within our Trust. The people at the heart of Solent play an important role in keeping people safe and well at, or as close to home as possible.
Today we speak with Rachel Miller, a Trainee Practice Nurse in Southampton. Solent GP Surgery practice nurses are based in three Solent GP Surgery sites and provide nursing and healthcare support to members of their local community.
Rachel joined the Trust after qualifying in 2019 and is looking to the future. She talks about her journey into her new role and how she is already making a huge difference to the people in her community.
“I always knew I wanted to help and support others and when I was in my teens, I volunteered to assist special needs children. I really enjoyed the work so decided to study health and social care in college. After I completed my studies, I worked as a healthcare assistant (HCA) to build up my practical experience and it was during my time on the ward that I got the nursing bug! Whilst on my HCA placement, I started my training with the Open University.
“During my training, a placement opportunity at Solent became available, so I went for it, and I’m so glad that I did. It gave me a huge insight into the importance of primary care in the community. I also love the values that the Trust lives through and the Trust’s purpose. Giving compassionate care and seeing people in the community, helping them to stay out of hospital, really chimes with me.
“Practice nursing is a new experience as an NQN and no day or patient is ever the same. You never know what to expect when people come into the clinic so it keeps me on my toes! For example, every Wednesday is baby clinic, where we carry out vaccinations. It is very noisy!
“As frantic as it may be, it’s really fulfilling to be able to provide care in the community, especially when you can see that you have helped improve to someone’s quality of life. Even the smallest things can make a real difference.
“I recently adjusted an inhaler for an elderly patient. When he returned to the clinic he told me that he was over the moon with his treatment. He was now able to play with his grandchildren, something he really struggled with before. Hearing that was really heart-warming and it gave me a real sense of pride.
“Community practice nursing gives you an insight to the patient as a whole, from their social history to family dynamics, lifestyle and previous health issues. When you meet a patient in secondary care you are mainly sorting their immediate issue, where as in practice nursing it can be so much more complex. As a newly qualified nurse this can be a lot to take in, but you feel like you are able to give people a much more personal, rounded experience and it’s really gratifying.”