My Role As Charlie House Children’s Community Nurse

In her own words, Charlie House Children's Community Nurse Fiona Fairley tells us about her role supporting babies, children and young people and their families.

I have now been in post for over 2 years and in this time my role as Charlie house Children’s Community Nurse has changed and evolved. This is partially due to the pandemic and the need to adapt quickly to the emerging needs of families during what has been a very strange and difficult time. I am sure my role will continue to develop over time as I carry on my work with the families and different hospital teams to be able to provide the best care possible for the children and families that I support.

During the pandemic, as for many, I have put a lot less miles on my car! There have been times when I have only been able to provide essential home visits, which has meant doing more phone calls, video conferencing and seeing children in hospital. Although I have always been able to provide care at home for patients who are at end of life, or for any other essential reason. On coming out of lockdown, I have been able to increase home visiting again, although this now looks different than before, with PPE, social distancing and COVID testing. I am happy to be able to see patients face to face again in their own homes and this is also of benefit to the families as it means I can provide nursing support, training, assessments, and nursing care without them having to travel or do everything over a computer. Due to the pandemic, I have also been home working where I can as a lot of team meetings can all be done via Microsoft teams as well as being able to keep in constant contact and working alongside the Charlie House team. I have also been able to continue to carry out any training remotely.

Over the last couple of years, I have been privileged to be able to really get to know the families I am working with. For some they have only needed a small amount of input from me to help them with a specific problem or nursing need, and for others I have needed to be more involved in the care planning process, which involves the whole multi-professional team around the child, developing a plan for their care and deciding on any changes that need to be made or implemented. I am then involved in delivering some aspects of that care or teaching parents to do so and then I must continue to evaluate the effectiveness of the care plan alongside the parents. Part of this process can involve helping the family develop an anticipatory care plan for their child, which gives them space to talk and think about what is important to them as a family, what is important for others to know about their child, goals they want to achieve as a family and thoughts around end of life. It is also a space to include emergency care plans, which are developed in collaboration with the professionals and are specific to the child.

I am available for the families if they have a concern or a question about their child’s care and can access the relevant professionals if needed to help address any arising issues or concerns. As a result of these strong relationships, I have been able to develop my role and to see the places where I can bring positive change to the hospital and home environment.

I am privileged to continue to work with the families and different hospital teams to be able to provide the best care possible for the children and families that Charlie House support. 

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