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  • From nursing to ‘the nurse’

From nursing to ‘the nurse’

May 30, 2024 | Blog

I have been employed by Turning Point Scotland for almost 8 months; I am the Senior Nurse within the Crisis Outreach Service.  This is my first dalliance into the third sector and certainly has felt, at times, a long way from home, from my time in the NHS.  I’m an Adult (General) Nurse – my background is in fast paced and busy environments surrounded by fellow nurses, other clinicians and with patients all around; now to a social care service with Teams meetings, Outlook calendar appointments and short life working groups, I have found myself in a role that has challenged everything I know.  In my move from the NHS I have moved employer, sector, health board/council area and changed my role in nearly every way you could imagine.  When I was a student nurse, I learned a nurse’s role was to always do good and to never cause harm and after fourteen years as a Staff Nurse I have found a way for me to really feel, like, I am doing just that.

I had no idea what to expect from the role of Senior Nurse and more worryingly – what would they expect of me?  The reality has been an opportunity to help shape a team and carve out a role for myself that incorporates the skills I already have with what the people we support need and deserve.  This role already lay outwith my area of experience and comfort and it very quickly forced me to confront the judgements, I didn’t even recognise I had, to stare into a world I had barely even glanced at before.  Certainly, there has been a lot for me to unpack and to understand, but the fundamentals of my work remain – to care for people when they need it and I have a lot of experience there!

Health is my passion and I have spent a career flying a flag that the health sector did not discriminate.  That we had no judgement about your alcohol or drug use and this would have no impact on having your health needs met – but the last eight months has burned that belief to the ground, as I see how difficult it can be for people who use alcohol and other drugs to access services that we take for granted.

In this role, I have brought a layer of health to a social care environment and to people who have historically been marginalised and left trailing behind by our healthcare system.  I have been able to design the healthcare that we deliver; to be led by what people tell us they need.  By putting a nurse in the team, Turning Point emphasised the significance of health and I want to continue in that vein – that health is not just an optional extra but an integrated part of the service we will provide. 

Some of the work I have done over my time in Crisis Outreach Service is around the MAT Standards – I am involved in the training, reporting and implementing of MAT in our service.  Working to empower people to understand what the standards are, why they are needed and how they can work for them to access the treatment they want.  I have worked with partner health services to establish pathways for people we support to access routine health screening.  Generally, the people we support are less likely to uptake routine screening via normal channels so we have provided an alternative; to bring healthcare to them. My background is in triage so I offer an assessment of symptoms on the phone or in person to provide health advice or to signpost people to appropriate and timely health services. Often, liaising or referring to other services.

Over the last few months, we have been working on a clinical space in our service, where people can be welcomed and have their health needs met by myself and partner practitioners.  With just a few finishing touches to go, we should have the ribbon cut on this over the summer.

So its been a busy and exciting start to the Alcohol and Other Drugs field; I have so much more I could say about what I have learned, or done or brought to the service.  The most significant thing has been the importance placed on making the service suit the people who need it, not the reverse and I hope to spend the rest of my career with that in mind. 

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