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A Day in the Life

Community Care: Jennifer, LPN

What does a community nurses typical day look like? There are no typical days!
The day before my shift, I will receive a list of clients from our schedulers. This
is sent to me via e-mail and a Celltrak program on my electronic device. From
this list, I plan my day. Certain clients may have specific times attached to their
visits because their needs are time sensitive. These needs include medication
management, fasting bloodwork, pre-arranged wellness/immunization or foot
care clinics. The visits may require that I, as their nurse, meet their home
support staff. I will plan to see the remaining patients as efficiently as possible
throughout my day. I try to suit client preferences/needs and to keep the visit
costs of travel time and mileage at a minimum. My caseload can change several
times throughout the day as extra clients may need to be seen or others may
cancel.

My day begins at 0800hr and ends at 1800hr if no overtime is required. I


usually gather the supplies I will need for the day from the office and then
travel to see my clients. We also keep basic supplies and paperwork in our cars
as we are not always within easy access of an office.

The first clients of my day are generally those who need fasting bloodwork,
insulin and/or medication management. I will attend the morning huddle if my
caseload allows. Our huddles are quick 10-15 minute teleconferences to
assess if there are any other clients that need to be seen or if any other nurse
may require assistance during the day. This huddle not only assures that all
clients receive the care that they require in the most efficient way but it also
promotes teamwork and collaboration. We continue to communicate
throughout the rest of the shift via e-mail with other nurses, managers and
schedulers.

From my electronic device, I can access the clients demographic information,


safety risks, contact numbers, care to be provided, etc. When I arrive at the
clients home or clinic, I use the device to check in under the assignment and
check out upon visit completion. This will keep track of the length of each
visits, the care provided as well as time and distance in kms for travel. The GPS
capabilities also allow for a safer workplace, so we can be located if we fail to
check in.

Depending upon my assignment for the day, I could travel to rural isolated
areas or urban centres. I could travel 10 km or 200+ km. My workplace could
include factories or office buildings, well-kept homes/apartments or homes in
various states of disrepair. Some homes may be spotless while others may be
cluttered and piled high with debris. Sometimes it is difficult to maintain that
balance for everyone. A client has a right to live as they choose as long as it is
safe for them and our staff. Their home is our workplace.

Throughout my day, I will visit a variety of clients who range in age from
children to seniors with a broad array of diagnoses throughout the life
continuum. The services we provide can range from preventative care to
palliative care. Social factors are very evident in the health of individuals,
families and their communities when you work in this sector. You come to
realize that an individuals choices are sometimes whether to pay for required
medication or buy groceries. Some clients have a large support group of friends
and family while others have no one. Our role includes health promotion,
teaching, client advocacy, assessment of care needs and additional supports
that may be required to live safely in the home, as well as hands on nursing
care.

In the community, I work independently every day. I also collaborate with


physicians, funders, clients/families, support services, etc. to work to ensure
that the clients needs are met. As a community health nurse, I need to be
flexible and adaptable as clients and the workplace are constantly changing.
Time management and organizational skills are a must! I need to be able to
provide all the required care, documentation, collaboration, planning, etc.
without making the client feel that I am rushed. I may have 10-12 other clients
to see that day but while I am with that client, the client needs to feel that he or
she is my only concern. My focus has to be on that one client for the brief time I
am there.
A community nurse must be proficient and comfortable to work independently
in the community sector. Many of the skills used in the community are
considered advanced competencies such as immunization, venipuncture, IV
therapy, foot care and advanced levels of wound care. There is always room for
growth and expanding skills. Community care is always challenging and with
the variety of settings, skills utilized and clients I meet it is never boring!