This is us!

Louise Hamilton, FoNS Inspire Improvement Fellow

Hello, my name is Louise and I am the team lead for Community Rapid Response (CRR) on the Isle of Wight. Our team started their journey together in the September 2020 as the pandemic was in full flow. We came together as multiple established teams in response to the pandemic, creating the Community Rapid Response Team.

We were all living in a world that had changed completely due to the pandemic. Not only affecting work lives but so many sacrifices were made in our personal lives too. Everything that we had known before was put on hold, but for how long we did not know. I cannot speak for the team, but I know I felt very unsettled in a new team, new job, new expectations, and new ways of working. 

During our time together we worked on developing our bonds and enhancing our clinical skills. I know I personally was opened into a world of which I had had minimal experience.

Until this job, I had been nursing in a clinical hospital setting. So, being in the community has really opened me up to a new way of nursing; Any of you who have worked in the community will understand what I am referring to. For those of you who have never worked in this environment, it opens your eyes to poverty within your geographical area. Having said that, I have really enjoyed learning new skills and experiencing different situations. The new challenges were something I thrived on, and I know many of the team felt the same.

Some of these feelings were overshadowed with uncertainly of what was to come, but, as a team we maximised our learning time for the benefit of our patients. We all strived to provide our patients with the highest quality of care and maintain their safety while keeping them at home.

The purpose of the CRR team is admission avoidance, facilitation of safe early discharges from hospital, risk stabilisation and administration of intravenous antibiotics. We are currently working with our ambulance service for the implementation of the urgent 2-hour community response.

Our CRR patients are in an acute phase of functional deterioration, require assessments, equipment provisions and onward referrals to additional services to maintain their independence.

Our team has developed immensely in nearly the 2 years we have been together. We have doubled in size and have additional responsibilities. To celebrate, we submitted an application for the Nursing Times awards in 2021; We Won an award for “Care of the older person”. This was truly an honour and the experience of a lifetime.

Our service continues to change with discussions around ‘the virtual ward’, but one thing is for sure, all the team are highly skilled practitioners who strive to provide our patients with the best care. They all go above and beyond every day to provide compassionate holistic care, they support one another, and I have never met a group of individuals who have such a positive influence on community care and I am so proud to be part of this team. 

In September 2021, I started as an Inspire Improvement Fellow because I wanted to develop and enhance my knowledge and skills in terms of leadership. I wanted to be the best version of me as a leader for my team. What I have realised during my time as a fellow, is that it is about encouraging the answers from the team as they are the ones who hold the key. I have learnt so many skills during my time so far as a fellow. I know that due to clinical and operational pressures I have been unable to conduct as many of the exercises as I would have hoped but I have also come to realise that this is also my own journey within leadership, and it is not about the end result, but the journey you take together.

While taking part in learning block 2, I was inspired by my peers and the content of learning that Jo was introducing us to. I realised that Thursdays (our protected time), had become my time to help balance myself and learn new things about me. My fellows are so supportive, and we challenge each other with new ways of working and new ideas. Our time together has been very reflective not only of our own teams, but I have also reflected and analysed the person I am, both professionally and personally. There is nothing specifically that I could say to you that stands out as an individual moment but for the whole duration of the programme something happened. I feel energised and positive; as a facilitator, I can embrace and take on any challenge. I look at things differently now and I know I have changed during my time on the programme. During my second learning block, I started writing a poem about our team’s journey. I am not normally one to write poems, this is my first. It’s amazing how much inspiration and positivity you are filled with during this leadership journey as a fellow. As the weeks went on so did the lines of my poem…. It’s not perfect… but this is us.

We came together at the strangest time, the world we knew has changed out right.

Everything was unknown on how it would go, but we held it together and went with the flow.

We made new friends and challenged each other, new skills, new roles to help patients recover.

At times we had to take a deep breath, but we supported each other through life and death.

It’s hard to quantify what we do; we step inside to conduct our review.

We assess, provide, support and promote, time and commitment is what we devote.

At times it’s not a simple job, but for us it is a job we love.

We make a difference to people’s lives, by keeping them home, safe and warm inside.

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