A Day in the life of a Community Physical Health Matron

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Susan Cummins

Community Matron for Physical Health  at
Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust.
@SusanMHMatron 

My workday starts around 8.15am

alarm-clock

On a typical day

My morning clinics begin at 9 am so I prepare the clinical room ensuring I have all the required equipment – blood taking sets, set up the ECG machine and charge the spirometer!  I also take time to read through notes so I know what needs to be done in the consultation.  I have four appointment slots lasting one hour.

My clinic tends to run over as it always takes time to do everything required furthermore the consultations tend to generate many actions and onward referrals.

The best thing about my role is…

It’s 100% clinical work, providing direct care and meeting new people each day…

Mid-morning

I’m usually busy with clinic work.

I’ve been in my current role…

I’ve been in my current role for 7 months.  Which involves being on secondment in Islington GP practices undertaking a full annual physical health check on people on the ‘Serious Mental Illness’ register.

My proudest achievement is…

I opportunistically visited a lady at home who had not engaged with healthcare services for over 4 years. It paid off!  I got her help from health & social care services, and gave her essential treatment.

What changes have you helped work on to improve the service for patients, staff, students?

My current role is a part of quality improvement project between our mental health trust and primary care… it involves a mental health nurse undertaking full annual health check-covering physical & mental health and social issues and devising a person centred care plan.

Lunch

On the go or sitting at my desk writing my notes. Can’t remember the last time I actually sat and ate my lunch in the staff room!  Or going back to the office or travelling to another surgery.

sushi

I’m often heard saying…

No problem…let me check my diary….

What inspires me is…

The people I provide care for – how they get on with their lives.

The hardest part of my job is…

Only seeing people once- I miss the ability to form longer-term relationships, and also working out of so many sites – it can be exhausting.

The best part of my job is…

The variability of my day and learning what its like to work in primary care

What qualifications or experience do you need to do your role?

You need to be a registered Nurse with enhanced physical health skills like blood taking, ECG and spirometry.  Plus have solid mental health assessment skills, experience of independent working and the ability to network with professionals.

Afternoon

Two afternoons per week I run clinics so the routine is the same prepping the room, and reading up on notes in advance so I’m prepared.  Finishing off morning clinic work, and then calling to book in more people for reviews.

Meetings

What’s the best thing you’ve learned in your role on the job?

An insight to experiences of people with mental health problems accessing primary care, and a greater understanding of primary care.

What does bite sized learning mean to you?

An introduction to a topic, becoming acquainted with the important points on issue, further reading or sources of information.

What tips do you have for anyone wanting to join your profession?

It can be a tough job but it is ultimately highly rewarding!

How are you compassionate to yourself or colleagues?

Mixed.  On days where I hit issues or feel I haven’t achieved all I wanted to, I remind myself that I work very hard and that tomorrow will be better.  I also make sure I take time to connect with colleagues and have a chat and laugh at work.  Happy colleagues provide better care and it really helps recharge my batteries.

Before I leave work 

Check my diary for the next day so I’m prepared.

calendar

After work

I cycle home through the park and take in the greenery and sounds of life!

If you could travel back in time what work tip would you give to your younger self

Take up all those offers for paid study with the leave included!

A day in the life… 
Interview with Fiona Cameron  @Cameron_Fiona
Digital Communications Manager, My Care Academy.
Read more of Fiona’s blogs on this site here.
Or read more career interviews here.

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