The Adult Nursing degree at Manchester involves students undertaking a number of placements over three years in both hospital and community settings. Second-year student, Adelyn Gumbo, has recently finished a community placement with band 6 Active Case Managers (ACMs) in Gorton and Levenshulme. The placement was a real head-turner for Adelyn and was an experience that has left a lasting impact on her. Find out why below…
I know there’s a lot of people that come into nursing knowing exactly why they love it and what sort of area they would like to work in, however, I was most definitely not one those people. My mum is a nurse and she enjoys caring for people, is efficient with her workload and manages her time well. A lot of that comes with experience and confidence, two things which I didn’t think I possessed until very recently.
So when I looked on BlackBoard earlier on this year and found out I had a community placement I was immediately intrigued. I, of course, asked all of my other course mates about their community placements and everyone had mixed reviews. I was most nervous about the skills I would learn in a community placement, entering people’s homes and of course all the usual anxieties of what my mentors would be like and if I would enjoy this three-month-long journey.
To my surprise, I loved my community placement. I was placed with band 6 Active Case Managers (ACMs) in an impoverished area covering Gorton and Levenshulme. The placement was like no other and it revealed the autonomy with which competent, experienced nurses can work in. I had always associated community placements with district nurses and I had ideas of what a community nurse’s day to day would look like; wound dressing, body map assessments, community multidisciplinary meetings and IV therapy.
However, the role of the Active Case Manager differs from this. ACM’s are autonomous practitioners and work as part of the larger community team to help manage and educate patients about long term conditions such as COPD, asthma and heart failure. As a student, it was fascinating to see the role of a band 6 (which I had always associated with the role of a Sister/ Charge Nurse/ Specialist Nurse within the hospital) within the community.
A lot of the ACM work is to do with the education and management of long term conditions. The communication, time-management and wealth of knowledge that these nurses possess inspired me. During the placement, I undertook further research on heart failure patients and got involved in creating management plans for patients. At one point I even did a handover for new patients on our caseload (something I am still not confident with but growing to love).
The thing that I enjoyed most about the placement was the bond that was created with patients after seeing them over time and seeing the way in which patients were so empowered in their own home. The goal was always to create a care plan which was patient-focused and mainly community-based. I most enjoyed the relaxation of community and seeing patients in a holistic way. I found that truly focusing on the patient and not the condition (although this was always important) was really effective.
I hope that if your next placement is community-based, then you will enjoy it as much as I did! There is nothing quite like community nursing and it truly has been the highlight of my placement experiences so far. My advice would be to seize the opportunities you have when involving yourself in patient education, always be inquisitive and always place patients at the heart of the care.