Stories

The Independence You Want The Teamwork You'll Love

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I love the independence of working in the community, but I never have that fear of being alone. There’s always someone there to help and to advise and my Nurse Manager is always just a phone call away. There’s also a great sense of camaraderie amongst the nurses.

Pearl Olesitse – Paediatric Nurse

The nurses on the Advanced Community Care team love the independent way of working we offer - as a welcome change from busy, acute nursing. Flexibility, being in control of your own client and family, and ability to really apply your skills has changed the way many think about their work. But while they work independently and with autonomy – they are never without support, guidance, a listening ear and a strong back-up team.

Advanced Community Care is a nurse-led company. All of the Nurse Managers to whom our nurses report in, are nurses themselves – so truly understand the situations and challenges their nurses face. And from the close relationship each nurse enjoys with their Nurse Manager, to team socials and therapeutic group sharing sessions – there is never a need to feel isolated

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Nurse Maria Carr studied as a Care Assistant at Temple Street Children’s Hospital and then specialised in Intellectual Disabilities. Maria knew from the beginning that she wanted to nurse children but didn’t want to be in a hospital setting:  she was looking for a more personal approach, and quickly found her way to us in Advanced Community Care.

She started her career here nursing two babies, one with a tracheostomy and the other with breathing difficulties – nursing them through the night in their homes. She moved over to work days and began looking after a 17-year old client with bowel care needs – healing his wounds completely in just six months. She continues to care for him today, along with two clients who have the severe genetic skin-blistering condition Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB).

EB is very rare and Maria cares for 2 children with this condition in Dublin. In addition, Maria looks after two social care clients and has done so since their days at LauraLynn Children’s Hospice. One child has a metabolic condition, the other has developmental delays – and Maria was the link between hospice and the children going home, one to their family and the other to a foster family.

Maria has found that throughout her career, one of the things she appreciates most about Advanced Community Care is the focus on education and ongoing development: with the company always supportive of learning and training.

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Having the right skills means that you can use the hours you have to nurse your client, to the best of your ability. Advanced Community Care has funded me to undertake several training courses, including a course on working with spinal patients, at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dún Laoghaire, training in Wound Management and Tissue Viability at the Royal College of Surgeons, and Palliative Care at Harold’s Cross. I found that one of the children I was nursing was starting to ask questions about her mortality – and it was clear she needed some emotional support. Resilience paid for me to do a course on caring for children with life-limiting conditions, at Crumlin Hospital – and it has really helped me

When they first join the company, many nurses worry that they will feel ‘out on a limb’. Will they be lonely, feel isolated or miss the advice and help of a colleague? Maria has found this concern was quickly allayed:

"My Nurse Manager, Geraldine, is a constant face in the homes where I nurse. I meet with her every two weeks and she advises and assists me when I need it. I always feel heard. Because Geraldine is a nurse herself, she knows how the job goes and appreciates the dynamics. She understands when we need to let the parents lead a little, to listen to the patient, or find proactive solutions to challenges. For example, my 6-year old patient was very distressed after having her wounds dressed, so Geraldine suggested I introduce a play session straight after – and the difference has been huge. I was also concerned that when one of the children I was nursing was in hospital, the mother wasn’t visiting very often, which upset the child. So Geraldine suggested we organise a special outing for the child, once week on a Tuesday. Mum knew this was a formal arrangement, and she needed to be there. This was a great, positive outcome to the problem."

In Advanced Community Care we also understand the emotional demands of our nurses’ work – and to show our commitment to the support they need we have introduced the Schwartz Rounds system. Taking place monthly, these sessions invite three nurses to speak on a different topic at each session, and Maria has found them to be invaluable:

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Last month the topic was ‘A Patient I’ll Never Forget.’ It’s really therapeutic to speak about it, and know others are going through similar experiences. These are also paid sessions, and lunch is included.

Nurse Pearl Olesitse’s journey with Advanced Community Care has been different from Maria’s, but she speaks of the same benefits, advantages and rewards. Pearl studied nursing at the University of Botswana, going on to work in the Paediatric Surgical Unit of the Princess Marina Hospital in Botswana. During her nursing years in that country she also worked at a new, state-of-the-art hospital, and was a part-time Clinical Lecturer at the Institute of Health Sciences.

With an ambition to explore nursing abroad and enjoy new learning opportunities, Pearl came to Ireland in 2012. While waiting for her Registration to come through, she worked as a Carer, then moved to Tulla Hospital where she did her adaptation. After this, she secured sponsorship from a nursing home, for whom she worked for 2 years – then moved on to join Advanced Community Care.

Pearl also finds the flexibility of her work appealing, as well as the independence it affords her – but feels this is always balanced by the support of her team.

"When I first discovered Advanced Community Care I had never heard of Complex Care Nursing. The value of nursing in a home setting really appealed to me and made such sense – and to combine this with state-of-the-art care and support. I felt that the values of Advanced Community Care really spoke to me and were so similar to my own: giving me the chance to ‘enhance the quality of people’s lives’ in the comfort of their own home setting. And what I really appreciate is that I can give continuity of care, which isn’t possible in an hospital environment. With Advanced Community Care I can get to know my patients over time, build a connection, and form relationships. There is such close support available, all of the time. I just don’t have that fear of being alone because help is always a call away, plus the ongoing training we have means we are so prepared and ready to handle different eventualities and emergencies. I get to be the best I can be. The company also takes take to make sure each nurse is placed with a family with whom they will be mutually compatible and comfortable."

Both Maria and Pearl have found Advanced Community Care helps them strike a balance between flexible, independent nursing in the community, against a supportive, nurturing and involved backdrop.  Find out how the balance could work for you too…