A district nurse has been commended for showcasing to the nation the vital work community nursing teams are continuing to carry out during the coronavirus pandemic.
Jo Paterson, district nurse and clinical lead at Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, has told ITV News about the contribution of community nurses to the crisis response as well as the additional challenges they are facing during this time.
It comes after the same broadcaster faced backlash for a story published the previous week which claimed that “nobody else” other than domiciliary carers were willing to carry out home visits to people who had tested positive for the virus.
The report left district nurses “devastated” and sparked a strong rebuttal from community nursing leaders including Dr Crystal Oldman, chief executive of the Queen’s Nursing Institute, who urged ITV News to set the record straight.
The new story films Ms Paterson as she attends to the wounds of a man who had tested positive for Covid-19 while having an operation, and another patient who explained that without her district nurse, she would have to go to hospital and “run the risk of losing my life”.
The feature has been widely welcomed among the nursing community including by Dr Oldman.
She told Nursing Times: “I am delighted that ITV News has now showcased the amazing work of our district nurses, working in such challenging times during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This corrects the broadcast from the previous week and I am grateful to ITV News for honouring their promise.”
She added: “The film showed the reality of district nursing at this time, caring for large caseloads of patients with complex needs, including those who have recently been discharged from hospital with Covid-19.
“This is only possible because of the highly skilled district nurses available to deliver this care in communities along with their teams.”
“Us nurses will continue to try our very best for our patients and to look after each other”
She described Ms Paterson as a “wonderful ambassador for the profession”, noting that she had previously won the QNI’s Philip Goodeve-Docker prize for outstanding district nursing students.
The story highlighted how community nurses were under increased pressure during the crisis carrying out up to 12 visits per day.
Ms Paterson also told of the strains on her own and other community nurses’ mental wellbeing due to having to deal with greater levels of mortality.
Asked by the reporter if community nurses received enough acknowledgement for the work they were doing, Ms Paterson said: “I don’t think any of us nurses do this job for some recognition from the public, I think we do this for our job satisfaction and for our patients.
“Saying that, it is important that we raise the profile of district nursing and community nursing because we want more nurses out here working with us.”
Ms Paterson told Nursing Times that the response to the story had been “unbelievable” and that she had received messages of support from all corners of Great Britain.
“I am proud to be a district nurse, part of a community nursing team delivering quality care and treatment to our patients within their homes,” she added.
“Taking part in this interview and filming was a fantastic opportunity to showcase our service and raise the profile of community nursing.”
She added: “Us nurses will continue to try our very best for our patients and to look after each other, to continue to deliver our service effectively, efficiently with patient-centred care and evidence-based practice – a favourite of mine.”
ITV News said it was seeking as many different perspectives as possible for its coronavirus coverage and that the district nursing story was a part of this programme of work.