Skip to Main Content Skip to Site Map Skip to Accessibility Statement

Monica Murphy, District Nurse Belleek/Belcoo area


What motivated you to pursue a career at South West Acute Hospital?

“I’ve been a nurse for nearly 30 years and have worked in hospital and primary care settings in both Fermanagh and Tyrone. District nursing is at the forefront of frontline services in the community and the role and responsibilities are evolving all the time.  For me, I was motivated to help patients in my community stay in their own environment for as long as possible and that’s why I enjoy this role. I would encourage any young person to consider a career in District Nursing, it’s very rewarding.”

Could you share a significant challenge you’ve faced in your role and how you overcame it to provide quality healthcare services?

“As a frontline service during the COVID pandemic we wanted to ensure safe effective care for our patients in their homes. There were challenges with new ways of working such as having to wear full PPE (fully masked up, with disposable aprons, gloves and visors). Also a real fear of the unknown and what I was bringing home to my family. Despite this myself and my district nursing colleagues continued to be at the forefront providing face to face patient care. That was a very difficult time but we all worked hard to ensure patient safety.”

How do you believe your role contributes to the well-being and recovery of patients within our community?

“The new District Nursing Framework (DOH 2017) document is a roadmap for the transformation of services in the community. The role of the district nurse has expanded as we deal with an increased caseload of patients with multiple and complex conditions. The impact of this framework is that it moves the focus from a model of ill health to a model of prevention and self-care. What this means in practice is that we work to encourage patients to remain at home where possible but support them with the knowledge and confidence to self-manage their own health.”

Can you highlight a particular patient interaction or medical achievement that you are particularly proud of, and why?

“I realised several years ago that gaining a qualification to enable me to prescribe directly to the patients would reduce delays and assist with their care, so I undertook a non-medical prescribing qualification with the Nursing Midwifery Council and Queens University Belfast. This now means that I can prescribe specific medications to patients. This means that the patients do not have to wait on a doctor’s to obtain some specialist medication.”

How do you ensure the delivery of compassionate and effective care in your specific healthcare discipline?

“It’s really important that nurses and other medical staff have empathy for patients. District Nurses are the key worker for palliative care patients. Good communication skills with all health care professionals including the multidisciplinary team and the family to ensure a seamless service is really important. We have a great supportive network of colleagues within community nursing and they are always there to listen confidentially if you’ve had to deal with a difficult case.”

What aspect of your work do you find most rewarding, and how does it resonate with your personal values and mission?

“I grew up in a close family where we cared for older family members at home. My parents instilled in me the importance of looking after each other and helping in situations where we can add value. My upbringing has taught me to understand the importance of empathy and compassion. I use all the skills I have learned over the years to treat people the way I would want my family or myself to be treated/cared for. Knowing that I have done everything I can to help a patient gives me a great feeling of job satisfaction.”

How do you manage the demands of your job, and what strategies do you employ to ensure exceptional healthcare service delivery?

“I try to ensure exceptional healthcare and service delivery by working closely with the team and consistently prioritising and reviewing patient conditions. I regularly keep up to date with training courses to educate myself on best practice, new knowledge and new ways of working.”

“It can be difficult to manage the work/life balance but I have learned that it is important to take time out and to reflect, and have regular supervision with my manager. We have an active and supportive local community and I often get involved in community and my kid’s activities, although normally from the side line!”

Have there been any mentors or colleagues who have significantly influenced your practice, and in what way?

“I have been lucky to have worked with wonderful colleagues who mentored me in different ways over the years, from the old Erne Hospital to where I am today. Just recently I was supported to undertake a Masters Degree in Advanced Professional Practice at Queens University which I completed at the start of this year.”

“My family have always supported me in my career and encouraged me to believe in myself and keep working hard to obtain the Masters. I would not have been able to achieve this without the continual support and encouragement from both family and management.”

What are your aspirations for the future, and how do you envision the evolution of your role within South West Acute Hospital?

“I would aspire to continue to work with my colleagues to ensure that District Nursing continues to be an effective and efficient service and deliver the best possible healthcare to patients in their own home.”

“As the role of District Nursing evolves, I believe there will be more opportunities to mentor younger members of staff and this will allow me to pass on what I have learned in my experience and throughout my career.”

How do you believe your efforts contribute to the overall excellence and advancement of healthcare services in our local community?

“My team are all very experienced nurses who provide best practice to ensure delivery of excellence in healthcare in the community. When patients are discharged, the district nurses ensure that all equipment is in place for the patient to be safely discharged from hospital and continue care at home that is needed.”

“A significant benefit of a small community is that we have great camaraderie and we work well with the multidisciplinary team. This ultimately ensures person centered care for each and every individual on our caseload and that is what we strive to do every day.”