What I’ve Learnt: Community Matrons

To respect a person’s environment

Just because some people live in a different way does not give us the right to judge them and we must always support their views and to work with them to ensure that they’re safe.

Not enough people know about community matrons

In the grand scheme of things, they’re a relatively new role, having only been around since 2004 – however, even after 14 years, so many people (even in healthcare) either don’t know what they do or that they exist at all! This is such a shame as this means their unique set of advanced skills isn’t always being used to it’s full potential.

There are a lot of people living with long term conditions

Before having a CM placement I don’t feel that I had a real appreciation for the sheer number of people living in the community with a long term health condition, or more than one. When patient’s come into hospital, it’s often easy to focus on the issue they’ve come in with and forget the whole picture, sometimes at the detriment to the patient.

The impact of medications

Patients get prescribed tablets from their doctor, but often don’t really understand what they’re for or the side-effects. Also, just because they’re prescribed and the patient diligently picks them up from the pharmacy every week, doesn’t mean they’re actually taking them! Or that they’re taking them properly.

Patients not understanding their health conditions

So many patients I’ve met, and not just in the community, have no idea what they’re diagnosis actually means or the impact this could have on their future.

The sheer number of community teams 

If there’s a health condition, its likely there’s a community team out there for it. Everything from diabetes, Parkinson’s, heart failure, strokes and palliative care has a dedicated team that works alongside all of the other teams to provide holistic care.

How hard the matron’s work to maintain a patient’s independence at home

Everything from medication prompts, packages of care, provision of equipment through other services or medication reviews. There are so many little things that can be done to ensure that a person can safely remain at home.

Using advanced nursing skills

The CM’s use a lot of advanced nursing skills, both in their communication and physical assessments. The Cornish CM’s are all non-medical prescribers and often incorporate medications reviews into their holistic assessments. They also utilise more advanced physical assessments such as listening to chests.

Taking time to listen

Patients often have a lot of fears, and they aren’t always about their medical conditions. Being able to chat with them and explore their concerns is really important for the patient.

So what?

Part of the student nurse experience is to spend time with as many different teams as possible and learn about their roles, patients groups and being able to have an understanding of CM’s is really important. CM’s have a really unique group of patients under their care, often incorporating both medical and social issues that can require lots of skill and multiple visits to begin addressing. Their specialist position means that they are able to truly treat patients in a holistic manner.
I only hope that I can take all of the various skills the matrons have been able to teach me into my future practice, as well as the confidence I have gained during this placement.

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