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Community and mental health services for Southampton, Portsmouth and parts of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.


International Nurses Day - recognising great care in Solent's community child health services

Dr Clare Smith is the Service and Quality Manager for Solent NHS Trust's Community children’s nursing and medical services team, East. She is also a speech and language therapist. Clare has shared her thanks to her community nursing team on International Nurses’ Day for their unwavering dedication to care during this national crisis.

“It’s hard not to communicate the value of nurses on International Day of the Nurse without setting this within the context of the current Covid-19 pandemic. Our current situation might cause us to overlook the essential work that our community nurses do for children and families every day.

“The work that nurses in community child health carry out includes the direct face-to-face care that we see on our television screens. In addition to this, our nurses are an essential part of a closely-knit safety net that we weave for children and young people in our community - to help to keep them safe from harm and maintain healthy lives.

“Our vision is that children can live their own very best lives and grow to become their best adult selves in terms of their health and development. Where there are barriers to this vision, our mission is to use our skills in healthcare to work with partners in other services and help to break them down. These barriers may be due to illness, disease, long term health conditions or special educational needs. Others, such as poverty, limited opportunities or abuse, though not caused by health, also have an impact on a child’s health, wellbeing and opportunity.

“Covid-19 has not stopped the presence of the many real, non-covid related health needs that children and young people face every day. In addition, new barriers to getting help have emerged, for example, as a result of not accessing usual services due to social distancing measures or fear of going to hospital because of Coronavirus. Our nurses have been working hard since lockdown, developing new ways of working so we can identify children and families that need help, enabling us to act quickly to put that help in place.

“Sometimes all that is needed is reassurance. Families with young children who are sick and need to go to hospital have been supported by our community children’s nursing team with information and guidance on how to care for children at home, preparing for and going to hospital when needed. Families have told our nurses that this reassurance in the community was just what they needed to be able to take their child to hospital safely, if they felt they needed to do so.

“Sometimes, finding the children whose needs might be hidden because of the lockdown can help ensure that the right help can go out to families who might be struggling. Our nurses are working in teams with doctors, therapists, colleagues in the council and education, and with charities to identify and support families with giving children the essentials they need to keep safe, physically and mentally and to support their health and development.

“Because of Covid, some of the face-to-face work that we routinely do in schools, children and family hubs and community clinics has had to reduce. Our nurses, (along with our therapists, doctors and healthcare assistants) have been working in new and different ways so that they can continue to provide the essential services that children need right now.

"Compassion and patient-centred care doesn’t always come in the form of a uniformed nurse on a hospital ward. Each day I see nurses, therapists and doctors carrying out compassionate care through home visiting, video or telephone consultations, working with families to develop the right information and guidance through videos and messaging and working through others who are in contact with the children needing support.

“I would like to take the opportunity on this International Day of the Nurse to personally thank all the clinicians that I work with in community children and families services, for their constant and unwavering commitment, even in the face of this pandemic, to keeping children safe and healthy.”

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