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I usually work for the family nurse partnership (FNP) in a large rural county. It’s an intensive home-visiting safeguarding programme for young first-time mothers.
As a team we were not prepared for the speed at which the Covid-19 crisis would change our working practice. I was given very short notice that I was leaving my team, attended redeployment training the next day and I was redeployed along with the majority of the team within a few days.
I was told I would be joining the community children’s nursing (CCN) team within my trust and I must admit although I really did not want to temporarily leave my area, I felt a sense of relief that at least it was a speciality that I was familiar with.
I had worked in CCN for 14 years prior to relocating to my current job in 2009. Many colleagues were redeployed to areas that they had never worked in before, so they felt very insecure and out of their depth in terms of clinical skills.
There were a large number of us redeployed to the CCN team at first and because of this we almost seemed surplus to requirements. I could feel that my skills and my mental health were definitely affected as we all tried to support each other with a sense of loss that leaving our roles and workplaces had given us. Many staff returned to their workplaces after a few weeks and only a few remained redeployed in CCN.
The CCN workload had of course changed due to the crisis. The team were not able to do the number of visits they would usually do and also due to social distancing were not as present in the office and able to take us out in their cars to visits.
The team covers a huge geographical area and so this involved the redeployed staff following CCN team members around in separate cars from visit to visit. We know how much information we get about clients just from talking to the visiting professional as we travel around.
“Redeployment has made me reflect how I uphold the Code in my daily working life”
This meant that we had to read up on many of the children’s personal electronic records prior to visiting and then hope we would remember the details of each child we visited as we saw them. A challenge in itself.
Going back to an area in a different health trust, a decade on I thought there would have been many changes to practice since I had left. Actually there weren’t and I found that after some in-house training that the very hospitable CCN team put on for the redeployed staff I had regained my confidence and enthusiasm.
As weeks went on I was able to assist the CCN team with their workload and felt comfortable enough to suggest ideas for making their clinical lives easier too.
It has been a time of great reflection for me. Redeployment has made me reflect how I uphold the Code in my daily working life and this practice has allowed me to prioritise children, practice effectively, preserve safety and promote my nursing professionalism and trust.
I never thought I would ever leave FNP but now I feel I would comfortably go back to CCN if that opportunity arose. I guess what I’m saying is be open to going back, don’t see going back as a negative because it might just be the best thing you ever did.
Jo Bettison is family nurse, Family Nurse Partnership Shropshire, Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust