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The myths about district nursing are putting off young graduates

We must dispel the myths about district nursing that are putting young graduates off this great career path.

I knew I wanted to specialise in district nursing after spending my ‘sign off’ placement with Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust.

I loved every minute of it and the team was so supportive that I knew that’s where I wanted to be. I was offered the job on my last day of university last September. I started in my new role the following month and haven’t looked back since.

I’d known for many years that I wanted to be a nurse. At one point it was between nursing and dancing but I went with my heart. Nursing runs in the family as my sister works as a nurse for a hospital trust in Liverpool and my brother is a paramedic. I studied nursing at Liverpool University and after lots of placements in a variety of settings I realised I liked district nursing best of all.

However, there is a misconception among student nurses that you can’t join a district nurse team straight after qualifying because you need to have two years nursing experience. This isn’t the case and I wouldn’t like trainee nurses to rule it out, thinking that it wasn’t an option, because there are some great opportunities out there for graduate nurses.

Another myth, which I’m helping to dispel at the tender age of 22, is that district nurses tend to be older or approaching the end of their careers. I was at the gym recently and got chatting to some doctors who asked me what I did for a living. When I said I was in district nursing, they said I looked too young and thought thought I'd have to be much older!

What I enjoy most about district nursing is the one to one time with the patient, which you don’t always get so much of in secondary care. I have been doing lots of wound care and caring for end-of-life patients. I also have lots of communication with GPs through the Gold Standard Framework to ensure our paliative care patients are receiving the best possible care and communication to ensure their wishes are being listened to.

It is an immense privilege to care for someone in their own home. I develop great relationships with my patients, as well as getting to know their family and friends.

I love the fact that I can take a holistic approach with my patients, ensuring that all their needs and preferences are met, and making sure they have the best quality of life they possibly can.

As part of a district nurse team, I can work independently and I get to think for myself. At times it can be daunting and challenging but I get lots of help and support from my colleagues and I thoroughly enjoy it.

I would urge new graduates to consider starting their career as within district nursing as there are lots of opportunities and it’s incredibly rewarding.

Gemma Green is a community nurse with Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust

*This article was updated on 1 February 2018