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Tough winter weather is something Campbeltown’s community nurse team has always taken in its stride.
This week one of its senior community nurses, SCN Aileen Rodger, featured in a Royal College of Nursing (RCN) comparison of the role in the snow of 1947 and in the 21st century’s 24/7 operation.
RCN’s head of member engagement and campaigns, Sarah Abley, based in London, was inspired by a memoir she found in the organisation’s archive.
It described the role of legendary Kintyre district nurse, Mary Mathieson, in that hard winter when the roads were impassable and on two occasions she was ferried to patients by lifeboat.
So far this week Mrs Rodger and her colleagues have not had to battle the snowdrifts which are covering parts of the UK. The job is much the same although the community nurses are part of a bigger team with a practice population of nearly 8,000 people.
It’s not just district nurses who are involved with the care either, social workers, doctors, carers, admin support, drivers, porters and volunteers all contribute.
‘The part I love most is visiting the patients,’ says Mrs Rodger, ‘I enjoy being part of a larger team, bouncing ideas off colleagues and having the support that Mary wouldn’t have had.
‘But it’s good to be able to practise autonomously. As a specialist nurse practitioner and an independent prescriber, I get to use my clinical skills judgement and I can make decisions during the visit.’
Mrs Rodger’s work requires a lot of dedication and often as well as changing dressings she will bring rays of light into her patients lives.
She added: ‘When you go the extra mile, patients and families appreciate it.
‘Every day I know I have to do my job because there are people relying on me. I’m part of the community and there’s reward in that.’
For more about the life of community nurses see next week’s Courier.