With the support of ARNS, I had the recent pleasure of attending the 2014 Primary Care Respiratory Society UK (PCRS-UK) national conference. Their annual event is an opportunity to embed evidence based care in to the culture of everyday clinical practice. The environment provides a unique opportunity to meet and network with colleagues who share the same passion in respiratory excellence. This year the presence of the British Lung foundation and Asthma UK highlighted the conference’s main structure – patient centred care.
My personal thoughts on patient centred care questions the environment upon where that exists. I am referring of course to the recent buzz word of ‘integration’. Community nursing exists somewhere between the hospital, GP surgeries and social services. Experienced clinical nurse specialists (CNS) at the conference were expressing their concerns of integration at the ARNS stand – in particular, avoiding limbo. The nursing perspective I witnessed was that communication between the three services was to be encouraged; and not a total integration.
Perhaps this was more of a debate around the uniqueness of the community CNS role. The training and experience enables these nurses to support patients and carers with complex health needs in their own home; often without the infrastructure of colleagues and diagnostic testing. This role is one of skilful management risk, balanced with the genuine compassion to sustain adequate care at home for the patients. Community nurses listen to patients, foster hope and help to re-build patient confidence. There seemed to be a genuine fear that these skills were being unvalued and may be lost through plans of integration.
Within a tightening financial climate however changes need to occur. The message that remained constant throughout the conference was that the patient needed to be central in this. Perhaps interface is a word to consider alongside integration? Nurses are key in helping develop partnerships with GP’s, community services, research innovations and tele-health projects. Innovation is another word – nurses are fantastic at thinking outside of the box, signposting and developing new pathways of care.In addition empowerment, as part of patient centred care, enhances understanding and ownership of change – for both nurses and patients.
Leadership is the final word I will leave you with – this was abundant at the PCRS-UK, and evident in both the medical and nursing communities. Leaders are crucial, we need them to assist in fostering communication, integration, innovation, empowerment, and ultimately the change required to enhance patient centred care.
Many thanks to ARNS who enabled me to assist on their stand and witness the compassion present at PCRS-UK 2014.
ILD/Pulmonary Rehabilitation Nurse Specialist.
University Hospitals of Leicester