Our Nurses. Our Future
The theme of this year's International Nurses' Day is ‘Our Nurses. Our Future.’ We showcase the vital role nurses play in delivering healthcare today, and nurses thoughts on how they will continue to in the future.
Gena Ritchie is a Community Dermatology Nurse in West Place. She tells us about how rewarding it is to be a specialist nurse:
“I’m a Community Dermatology Specialist Nurse and work within the Skin Integrity Team. I’ve been a Community Dermatology Nurse for over 10 years.
“The Community Dermatology Team is a unique team of three. There are no other such teams in Norfolk or Cambridgeshire.
“I qualified as an Enrolled Nurse in the 80s, then converted to a registered nurse and trained in Kings Lynn Queen Elizabeth Hospital. I became interested in dermatology when working on an acute medical ward that had dermatology beds back in those days. It was in treating these patients skin conditions that I developed an interest in the discipline.
“I’ve been a nurse for more than 30 years and my role as a specialist nurse is particularly rewarding. I’m an advisor and an assessor. My role is to educate my patients and their families and I see patients that range in age from babies to those over 100 years. It’s so vital to spend around 90 mins with patients on a first visit and even more important to give our patient’s time for them to be able to explain how they feel, and we often will touch our patient’s skin as often their skin condition is mistaken as being contagious.
“The majority of patients seen within our service generally have a diagnosed skin condition such as psoriasis and eczema.
“As well as seeing patients I give presentations as part of training programmes to student nurses and community colleagues and general practice teams . I also work with the Community Nursing Leg Ulcer Clinic in Swaffham providing dermatology management advise in the care of leg ulceration and varicose eczema etc.
“Being a specialist nurse is challenging and there’s always a need to keep my skills and knowledge updated as I’m very often stopped in the corridor to look at someone’s skin issue.
“It’s also so rewarding to see a patient who goes from being someone who wears clothes to disguise their appearance to looking at a photo of that person, full of confidence on their wedding day.”