So, you’re sold that Health and Social Care is the path for you. That’s great and all, but where on earth do you start...
- Provide care and support to people with long-term or complicated health conditions
- With experience, option to move into health promotion work, teaching or training
- Caring for people with long-term illnesses can be physically and emotionally demanding
As a community matron you'll work with patients in their own homes, residential homes, nursing homes and prisons, helping them to live independently and to cut down on the number of visits to hospital.
- Carrying out physical examinations and treatments
- Referring patients to a specialist
- Managing the care and support patients receive
- Identifying patients who may be at risk of being admitted to hospital when they don't need to be
- Managing services to make sure the focus of care is in the home and community for as long as possible
- Teaching patients, carers and relatives to spot changes that could lead to conditions getting worse
- Organising extra support like home care or respite care
- Making sure policy guidelines and procedures are followed
- Maintaining patient records
You could work at a hospice, in a prison, at an adult care home, at a client's home or in an NHS or private hospital. You'll work closely with health and social care professionals, voluntary services and carers. You'll also act as a clinical lead for other nursing staff and might train and mentor junior colleagues. Your work may be physically and emotionally demanding.
This role is ideal for someone who enjoys working with other people, has sensitivity and understanding and is flexible and open to change. It is a role for people who have already worked as highly experienced, senior nurses.
You can get into this job through professional development training with your employer. However, you'll need to be a registered nurse in any branch, or other registered health professional, for example a speech and language therapist with 3 to 5 years' post-registration experience.
You'll also usually need leadership and management experience, specialist knowledge of nursing procedures and practice, in-depth knowledge of long-term health conditions and treatments, and a willingness to work towards an appropriate masters qualification.
Some employers may also expect you to have a degree or postgraduate diploma in community practice specialising in district nursing, health visiting or practice nursing, a relevant teaching or mentoring qualification, or a nurse prescribing qualification.
You'll also need to register with the Nursing & Midwifery Council.
With experience, you could progress to service management level and become head of community nursing. You could also move into health promotion work, teaching or training.