Working as a children's community nurse (CCN), especially in remote and rural locations, can evoke feelings of professional isolation. Humans are by nature 'social animals' and the consequences of feeling isolated, and coping with distances, adverse weather and risky situations, could mean that nurses choose to work instead in more familiar and comfortable environments. This can affect retention issues and increase the risk of CCNs experiencing stress, burnout and illness-related absenteeism. The children they care for often have complex needs and parents want their CCN to be 'on the ball'; they will feel concerned and frustrated if the CCN team lets them down. Two academics were approached by CCNs in Wales seeking ways of overcoming isolation. It was decided that the best course of action was to develop a community of practice clinical network for band 5 and 6 CCNs working in Wales, with the aim of supporting staff, sharing best practice, and promoting safe and quality-driven care. Alternating the networks among health boards, whereby the nurses decided the agenda, booked the venue, invited guest speakers, led the meeting and wrote up the minutes, was an excellent way to achieve the designated aim: reducing professional isolation. A range of clinically focused topics were discussed and debated, and the first six meetings were so effective in meeting the aim of the network that each health board is starting the cycle of hosting the network again.
- Children's community nurse
- Communities of practice networks
- Continuing education
- Healthcare education