'I am still studying…there is always something new to learn'
Geeta has been with the Trust since 2004. She first worked with the Trust as a student nurse in the district nursing team in Wembley. After spending three years as a community nurse she qualified as a district nurse in 2009 and she is now a District Nurse Team Leader managing a small team of 4 nurses in Brent.
Geeta first realised she wanted to work for a Trust as a district nurse whilst she was a student. What attracted her – was it the Trust or working as a community nurse? “Both," said Geeta. "I appreciated the strong supervision, training and leadership that helped me during my placement and I was confident that this Trust would help me to realise my full potential”. Geeta said she was also very attracted to a role where she could work a normal 8.30 to 5 day and keep her evenings and weekends free. “One of the attractions is the ability to easily manage my family life – the Trust has supported me through having three children and my supervisors have always helped me manage both my work and family commitments.”
As a promising community nurse, Geeta was strongly encouraged to obtain the qualification that would enable her to become a district nurse. She started studying shortly after returning from maternity leave with her first child in 2008. “It was very challenging but I knew that I needed a degree to progress my career. I had discussed the best way of managing work, study and family life with my manager who suggested I undertake a number of modules towards my degree before going on maternity leave”.
Geeta would recommend district nursing as an ideal choice for someone looking for a rewarding role with lots of opportunity for career progression. “District nursing can be challenging at first - in a hospital you have a team of professionals there any time you need them. But in the community you don’t have that so you need to make more decisions”. But it didn’t take her long to build confidence; “Now I truly enjoy the autonomy”, she says, “but I always know that there is a team of highly skilled professionals not too far away if I need advice or a second opinion”.
Geeta believes that community nursing provides much better opportunities for training and development, when compared to hospital based roles. “Patients in the community have multiple conditions and I am constantly learning in order to build up my skill-set to enable me to provide better care for patients. There is always something new to learn.” For those who are career-minded, Geeta feels this Trust would an excellent choice. “Many Trusts would not have allowed someone like me to jump from a band 5 role into a band 7 role. I did find it challenging at first but now I feel very privileged to be given this opportunity”.
“I love the management side of my role”, says Geeta. ”I feel rewarded by developing people and motivating them to achieve their potential. But I love my clinical role too – engaging with patients is what makes me satisfied at the end of each day. I am really happy with the balance between clinical and managerial work”.
It is clear that Geeta is a nurse at heart. “Where I get the most satisfaction in my job is knowing I’ve enabled a positive result in the lives of my patients or their families. One of the hardest areas of my role is dealing with end-of-life cases - it can be very intense as you are in the midst of a very emotional situation. But if you can help someone to have a peaceful end with their family around them, and everyone feels supported and comfortable, then this is actually a very positive outcome”.
“I also gain satisfaction from dealing with patients with long-term health conditions,” says Geeta. “I work with many patients with diabetes, but they also have lots of other problems such as depression or social issues. By helping them manage their health condition it can have a really positive effect by giving them the strength and motivation to make improvement in all aspects of their life”.
Geeta would recommend working at the Trust to anyone. “The team is incredibly supportive and we all talk to each other in order to resolve work issues and other problems. It feels like a family – we have become very close with one another”. She feels she will stay in district nursing for the rest of her career and she has the confidence that the Trust will continue to help her progress. 'I already have future training mapped out', she laughed. “My family joke with me – my eldest daughter says to me, ‘mummy are you still studying?’, but I explain to her why it is important to me and they always understand. I’m lucky to have such a supportive family”.