Inspiration: Choosing a Career in the Community – Care Closer to Home

Inspiration: Choosing a Career in the Community – Care Closer to Home

Back to the map | Contact the project lead

Organisation: Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, Sutton & Merton Services Community Division


There is a drive to increase the number of people who are cared in or closer to home as part of the National Health Service (NHS) reforms. Nurses are seen as key professionals in the planning, provision of and managing of this care but recruiting and retaining sufficient numbers of staff with the appropriate levels of skills and knowledge is proving to be difficult.

To address recruitment and retention issues, this project aims to:

  • Establish a centre of excellence for community nurses and nursing student placement.
  • Create a positive perception of community nursing as an important career pathway.
  • Ensure the capability and capacity of community nursing services to manage the demands and needs of the local population they serve.

Brief Summary

I became a Darzi Fellow in September 2014. My background is in critical care and I have an interest in workforce development and patient safety.

During an initial scoping exercise, verbal feedback about the clinical placement was obtained from student nurses and from nurses attending the ‘Nurses New to the Community Course’. Both groups had been provided with a Quality Improvement (QI) Project information sheet prior to feedback being obtained and were assured of confidentiality, anonymising of data and that participation in the QI project was voluntary. A common theme that arose from both groups was the need for a more structured, and consistent induction across the localities including locality specific information. For the students, this meant an aide to help them make a more informed decision regarding their chosen ‘Outreach’ experiences. For new staff, this meant a handbook that helped increase their awareness of such things as staff structure, locality specific services and processes to follow. Ongoing involvement is being sought to ensure the handbook produced that meets their informational needs and expectation.

The project focuses on two specific tasks, to be completed by April 2015:

  • Community Nursing Open day
  • Sutton & Merton Community Services Information and Resource Handbook

The Open day will be an opportunity to showcase SMCS as a centre of excellence for community nurses and nursing student placement.

As part of a wider piece of work around community nurse and student induction, a ‘Community Services Handbook’ is being developed with the perceived benefits of:

  • Improving communication and knowledge of SMCS by providing consistent, adequate, accurate and equitable access to information to all nursing staff and students.
  • Improving operational efficiency by providing adequate information that will enable new employees to settle into their new position quickly and become productive and efficient members of staff within a short period of time.
  • Contributing to the establishment of an excellent community student nursing learning environment by supporting nursing students to make informed decisions about how to optimally meet their learning objectives, and maximise their exposure to and experience of community nursing.
  • Creating a positive perception of community nursing and SMCS which may improve recruitment and retention of nurses.
  • Improving the nursing recruitment process by providing adequate information about community nursing and SMCS.

Funding to support the Open Day and development of the handbook has been obtained from Health Education England via Health Education South London.

The success of the Open day will be evaluated by the numbers that attend, feedback obtained on the day and potential submitted job applications.

Feedback from students and future new employees will be obtained regarding the quality of their induction and the induction handbook.

Area of work

In relation to the four foundations of our declaration, this project aims to:

  • Happy staff with the right skills

Service user involvement?

Stakeholder involvement was actively sought from student nurses, newly qualified nurses, nurses new to the community and other members of the community nursing. There has been no involvement of people receiving care as yet.

Advice for others

Stakeholder engagement is essential for developing a meaningful project but is not without its challenges. You may need to explore and trial various methods to obtain their participation in the project.

Comments are closed.