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  • 14 June 2023
  • 11 min read

How To Become A Community Nurse

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    • Mat Martin
    • Richard Gill
    • Matt Farrah
    • Laura Bosworth
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“There’s lots of opportunities for specialising in the community… it is a really exciting time to become a Community Nurse.”

Interested in a career as a Community Nurse? This video from 3rd year Student Nurse Lillie goes over her journey to community nursing, and what qualifications and skills you will need, as well as the salary you can expect and how to find a community nursing role suited to you.

Hello, my name is Lillie, and I am a 3rd year Student Nurse from Newcastle. Today, I’m going to be talking to you about how to become a Community Nurse.

I’m currently on my final management placement and I’m due to finish my nursing studies this summer. After this, I’ll be starting as a Newly Qualified Community Nurse. And I am so excited!

Why Do I Want To Become A Community Nurse?

I knew that I wanted to become a Community Nurse at the very beginning of my nursing journey, just before I applied to studying nursing in 2019. I wanted to be a Community Nurse because I was inspired by the work of two Community Nurses who looked after my nanna when she was receiving end-of-life care at home.

They were so competent, caring and kind with my nanna and my family, and they listened to our needs. We were provided with really high-quality care that was so person-centred, I was really moved. I now try and care for my patients to the same standard of care.

Throughout my student nursing journey, I have been allocated lots of different specialities for placements, such as day surgery, hyper-acute stroke, oncology, general medicine, and trauma orthopaedics. Although there were lots of learning opportunities and skills to gain, my heart was still set on community nursing.

Throughout this video, hopefully I’ll provide a bit of an insight into how to become a community nurse and the responsibilities included in the role.

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What Qualifications Or Experience Do You Need To Become A Community Nurse?

There are a range of ways to become a Community Nurse. Firstly, I’ll talk through my own journey, then I’ll discuss some other ways to become a Community Nurse.

My Journey To Nursing

When I applied to study nursing at university in 2019, I didn’t have any prior healthcare experience. I had quite a different career background. After finishing my A-Levels, I began working in kitchens as a pastry chef. I worked in a range of bakeries, with the ambition to open my own chocolate business in the future. I used to spend my day making different creams, pastries, and chocolates.

After gaining years of experience in high-end patisseries and chocolatiers, I finally opened my own chocolate business. But unfortunately, I decided being a small business owner was not for me. I found it really difficult to make any money, due to ingredients being expensive, and I struggled with a work life balance.

So, I decided to retrain as a nurse, after caring for my nanna at home. I decided to go down the university route to become a nurse. You need to have a combination of Level 3 qualifications such as, A-Levels, T Levels, BTEC or Diplomas, Scottish and Irish Highers or Access to Health diplomas.

I was lucky enough to have enough A-levels to reach the entry requirements, which are usually three A-Levels and GCSE maths and English. I have A-Levels in art, product design and history. So, you don’t necessarily need scientific qualifications to study nursing.

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Studying Nursing At University

But some universities may have different entry requirements. Also, if you don’t have A-Levels, you can do an “access to nursing” course at college, which is usually one year long.

I personally didn’t have any previous experience in healthcare before starting my degree, but I did have a lot of transferrable skills, such as time management, good communication and being a good listener.

Lots of my nursing student friends had lots of healthcare experience prior to starting their nursing degree. Some of them were health care assistants or health care apprentices, others had worked in care homes. But don’t worry if you don’t have a lot of hands-on experience, it won’t hold you back.

You can also become a Community Nurse via different routes such as, becoming a trainee Nurse Associate, where you gain on the job experience and attend theory sessions, but you also receive a wage, unlike a Student Nurse. Once qualifying as a Nursing Associate, some choose to do a top up course, where they can carry out more theory and research to become a Band 5 Registered Nurse.

What Can You Earn as a Community Nurse?

The starting salary for a band five community nurse is, £27,055. After about two years, you will progress on to £29,180. And the final pay progression of a Band 5, after two more years is, £32,934.

To progress on to a Band 6 in the community, you will have to undertake a management position, which sometimes requires an extra year of post graduate study at university. A Band 6 community nurse earns between, £33,706 and £40,588.

There’s lots of opportunities for specialising in the community… it is a really exciting time to become a Community Nurse.

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What Are The Duties Of A Community Nurse?

The duties of a community Nurse are very varied. They tend to work between the patient’s home, clinics, and care homes. So, every day is different. Some days, visits will be focused on monitoring blood pressure or blood sampling. Or you may have a clinic day, where you’ll be carrying out catheter care or dressing changes.

Community Nurses also administer medications, such as injections, blood glucose monitoring and intravenous drips. They also have an important role in delivering end-of-life care, they provide bereavement support and tailored holistic care to those nearing the end of their life.

What Personal Qualities Do You Need To Be A Community Nurse?

As Community Nurses visit people in their own homes, they have to be able to build a rapport with individuals quickly, this ensures that the relationship between the patient and practitioner is built upon dignity and trust.

You have to be able to empathise and connect with other people, as you may be meeting some of the most vulnerable or marginalised in society.

Community Nurses are lone workers therefore, they manage their own workload. You must have excellent time management skills and be able to be logical to ensure you finish your work in a reasonable time.

Also, you must have critical thinking skills as you are a lone worker. You must have a strong evidence-base to ensure you can make decisions to escalate care appropriately.

Alongside good time management and communication skills, Community Nurses must also be quite practical. They undertake some invasive procedures, such as obtaining a blood sample or inserting a catheter, so you have to be quite dextrous.

Career Opportunities For A Community Nurse

There are so many different career opportunities for a Community Nurse. Some may choose to go into school nursing, health visiting, frailty, neurology, MS nursing, hospice, oncology, sexual health, or even specialise in tissue viability. There’s lots of opportunities for specialising in the community.

It is a really exciting time to become a Community Nurse. Within the NHS long term plan, it states that more focus and funding will be given to community nursing. This is important as Community Nurses can help reduce the burden on A&E by helping people live well at home.

The role of a Community Nurse is very important and varied. They support some of the most vulnerable and marginalised in our society, so must have a range of skills to be able to meet their needs.

Dealing With The Emotions Of The Role

Community Nurses have an important part in providing end-of-life care at home. Naturally, this can be upsetting. Sometimes you may wonder if you got it right or whether you could’ve done a better job.

This is why it is important to reflect upon experience you have as a nurse, this enables you to not only learn, but also explore your own feelings. By being self-aware and in touch with your emotions, this can help reduce burn out.

Burn out is due to chronic stress and can lead to feelings of hopelessness and disengagement. However, these feelings can be avoided by, being self-aware, making sure to use self-care and talking to others about how you feel.

Finding A Job As A Community Nurse

I managed to get my Community Nurse role through a poole interview which was organised by the hospital Trust I am a Student Nurse for. The poole interview was open to all 3rd year nursing students.

This is where you state which area of nursing you want to work. I chose community nursing on mine, but some of my friends chose intensive care or surgery. During the interview process you are scored on how well you answered the questions. In the end, they total up your score and you are given either your 1st, 2nd, or 3rd choice.

You can also look at the NHS jobs website where you can search for community nursing roles near you.

(Nurses.co.uk have hundreds of listings for Community Nurse vacancies across the country).

Conclusion

The role of a Community Nurse is very important and varied. They support some of the most vulnerable and marginalised in our society, so must have a range of skills to be able to meet their needs.

I find the job of a Community Nurse really rewarding. I really enjoy supporting individuals to live well in their own home and building a strong therapeutic relationship. Although, like most nursing roles, there can be high workloads and long hours, I personally wouldn’t want to work anywhere else.

However, more funding and staff are needed to enable us to support more people living in their own homes. This will help reduce the high demand for hospital beds and increase the quality of care.

I hope you enjoyed my video on how to become a Community Nurse, and I hope it provided an insight in the roles and responsibilities that are expected in community nursing.

Thanks for watching.

About the author

I'm Lillie, I'm an ex-pastry chef and current student nurse! I have an interest in ME/CFS, long Covid and a passion for helping people live well with chronic medical conditions. My ambition is to one day be a community nurse! In my spare time I love to make chocolates for friends and family.

    • Mat Martin
    • Richard Gill
    • Matt Farrah
    • Laura Bosworth
  • 0
  • 1556

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