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Nursing in Practice's Nurse of the Week

Sabrina Melvin, 30, became a community staff nurse in Hertfordshire in  January 2012 after qualifying in December 2010.

What inspired you to become a nurse?

I have been doing care work from the age of about 18 on and off. Care work was available at the time and was something I was interested in as well as bringing in money. As I progressed and went through different working experiences, I decided I was fed up with working for agencies and craved more responsibility as well as being allowed to make my own decisions about things. So that's why I looked towards nursing.

How do you start your day every morning?

I normally start around 8am or 9am as the times fit in nicely around my children. Our first job of the day would be to deal with patients that are insulin controlled - so we go around and check their blood sugars and give them their insulin doses. We normally get into the office an hour later where we find out what our workload is for the day, which could be anything - palliative care, rehab etc.

How do you relax and unwind after a day's work?

I do a lot of Zumba. My best friend is a Zumba instructor so I do that three days a week. We have just raised over £1,000 for the Rosie maternity unit in Cambridge through a sponsored 90 minute Zumba workout.

What do you most enjoy about your job?

Everything really. You are your boss because you get to manage your own workload and get the benefits of the support that comes with working as part of a team. I enjoy working with people and making people's life a little better, especially those in palliative care. I think it is a great honour to look after people in their end stages of life. No one day is exactly the same, every day is different and brings new challenges. You are always learning as a nurse and I like to feed my knowledge to keep me going. I am very interested in wound care so it is great to go on different courses and experiencing other sides to nursing.

What is the most challenging part of your day?

The responsibility that you have as a nurse. We have a pin number and we unfortunately do live in a blame culture and if things do not go right, we are normally the ones who get the blame because we are out there and work in the public sector. With the NHS being the way it is at the moment in terms of funding cuts, people aren't always getting 100% care. It doesn't matter how much nurses give individually, it is the profession that gets frowned upon if something goes wrong.

Do you think the administration burden on nurses is excessive?

Absolutely - 25-30% of my work is visits and the rest is documentation. If it is not documented, it didn't happen. We have document to absolutely everything being out in the community. Management expectation means we have to spend time tapping in data to a computer every day or every two days, which is fine but there are only seven and a half hours in the day. If they want me to go out and do X amount of visits and give quality care, I haven't got time to come into the office and sit in front of a computer for hours. But we have to document everything otherwise we haven't got a leg to stand on if the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) or the Care Quality Commission (CQC) come knocking.

Do you get enough face-to-face time with patients?

I wouldn't say that we do. When you go to see somebody for any type of health condition, you should go in and judge the whole situation, including the patient's living conditions and mental well-being. If we did that every single day for every patient, we wouldn't get to see everybody. Sometimes we can have 12 plus patients on our caseload, and I don't think we get allocated enough time.

Do you think nursing is a more or less respected profession than it was in the past?

I would like to think it is a respected profession but I think we get taken for granted a lot. Whereas my older patients I go and see, they appreciate everything you do because they remember nurses from years ago. On the opposite scale, the younger generation think nurses are glorified cleaners and you do get tend to get spoken to with not as much respect as you would like.

Where do you see yourself in five years time?

I am still at a position where I am learning a lot myself but in four or five years time I would like to go up the chain and think about applying for a sister role.

Are you surprised by how much you get done in a day?

I am and I'm not. There are times when I get home of an evening and think through what I have and haven't been able to do that day because you are going at such a fast pace all the time. University does help prepare you for what is required of you but there are some days where you have no choice but to hand over certain jobs and that is where things get missed. Unfortunately some days there aren't enough hours in the day and we can't always be super nurses, we are human after all!

Want to nominate someone to be Nursing in Practice's Nurse of the Week? Email me now at

The Nursing in Practice's Nurse of the Week is run as part of NiP's RESPECT campaign to raise the profile of primary and community nurses.

Find out more here.