At the start of my day, the nursing team get together for a short meeting to discuss any issues. I start to telephone my patients around 10.00am. If it is a new patient I check their diagnosis and if it’s unfamiliar, I spend time researching to better understand the situation and assist the patient.
In our team, we have access to specialist nurses who are able to offer detailed knowledge of conditions but wherever we can, we share information and advice so that each member can continue talking to the same nurse.
- Child health - a recent referral is for a family whose baby was born with a very rare health condition. They are struggling to cope as he has complex issues. Before I contacted them, I did lots of research to find out what medical issues they could be experiencing.
His dad has explained that the child needs 24 hour care but they are unsure how to access more support. After a considerable amount of searching and speaking to various organisations I found two that could possibly provide support. I contacted the father and sent him the details of these organisations for him to consider. He finds my calls very comforting.
- Physio - a patient has had a serious back injury and would benefit from physiotherapy. Through FSB Care members can access a short course of physio, so I co-ordinated with our physio providers and then emailed the patient to confirm that the physiotherapy is being organised.
He is relieved and is looking forward to the sessions.
I am responsible for sourcing and renewing some of the resources which the nurses send to patients and I work this into my busy day.
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS) - another of my patients has recently been diagnosed with MS and during our conversation I explained to her that the MS Society has excellent support groups around the UK. She was very interested and we agreed that I would find a group local to her. Following our conversation I found a centre close to her hometown and sent her the details.
I was also able to organise some therapy for her at that centre, and will continue to keep in touch with her.
Here are some examples of some of my other patients that I speak to:
- Stroke - a young patient who has had a stroke and is feeling vulnerable and lonely. He says that he thinks he is too young to have had a stroke. I explained that there is a charity called Different Strokes who support young stroke victims. He was very interested in this and after doing some research and speaking to various people I let him know about a local group he could go along to. He was very grateful for this.
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) - I contacted another patient who is ex-military and whose wife died last year. He has been left with two small children and is trying to cope. He has a lot of anger issues following the loss of his wife as often happens in bereavement.
During his army career he was posted to Northern Ireland as well as Afghanistan. He has PTSD following his deployment and has never been able to address his issues.
I had heard of the Combat Stress charity but had never had to use their services. I discussed this with him and explained that I would research the charity and contact them to find out if they could support him. He was very grateful as he feels too unwell to look for help himself.
Following our telephone conversation, I then spent time researching the charity and made contact, their outreach team sent me a referral and registration form. A welfare ex-services officer would visit the patient following the referral, to assess his needs and provide the appropriate services for him.
When I spoke to the patient he was delighted and was happy for me to complete the referral for him with the charity.
I spend a lot of time on the telephone talking to my patients, helping with their problems and providing a listening ear. This is very valuable to people in these busy times and often they say that it is the first opportunity they have had to talk about how they are coping.
My patients often phone in and I am always very happy to talk to them. They call with good and bad news; it is gratifying to know that they trust me and wish to keep in touch.
Being a personal nurse adviser is a very privileged position; people often confide in us, telling us things that they have not spoken about before.
Sometimes they send photos of themselves maybe after treatment or on a fund raising event, or even a picture of the new grandchild or the dog!
Patients are always surprised and pleased to be able to speak to the same nurse (their nurse) every time they call, and to know that I will stay in touch for as long as they wish.
We speak with patients at an extremely difficult time in their lives, so I try to put myself in their shoes and treat them as I would like to be treated.
My days are very busy and provide me with job satisfaction knowing I have been able to provide support for my patients which could make such a difference in their lives.