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Rachael Mallon – WT Nightingales - Rachael Mallon - WT Nightingales

Western Trust Nightingales 2020 Staff Profile: Rachael Mallon, Acting District Nurse Team Leader for Newtownstewart and Drumquin Community Nursing Team
Tell us about yourself and your work (eg family, job, length of time in post)

My name is Rachael Mallon, I am the acting District Nurse Team leader for Newtownstewart and Drumquin community nursing team. I have worked in district nursing for over 4 years and qualified for 16 years. Both my parents worked as nurses and it was a natural step for me to take. I have nursed in a variety of clinical areas such as ICU, endoscopy, public health, day procedure and also in the private sector in laser eye correction. I have enjoyed nursing both in Australia and England but delighted to be home working locally to be close to family and friends.

Why did you choose this job?

District nurses are lone workers who make independent clinical decisions and to be able to have the skills and knowledge to confidently assess and treat patients at home provides great job satisfaction.

The range of clinical skills required I found appealing such as managing palliative care patients with syringe drivers, complex wounds, oncology patient with PICC/HICC lines, risk assessments to facilitate changes in mobility to allow patients to be safely cared for at home and provide the appropriate equipment, identify acutely unwell patients and ensure they get the correct treatment, catheter care, venepuncture, injections, incontinence assessment, enteral feeding and management of diabetic patients.

It is a privilege to get to know our patients and their family. It is an honour to be able to care for them in their home environment. District nurses are the keyworkers for palliative care patients and we are able to grant patients their wishes to remain at home and provide the same care they would get as if they were in hospital.

I know it has been a particularly challenging couple of months for all health care workers due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Can you explain what has changed in your role? What are the best and most challenging aspects of the job?

The demand for District nursing services has greatly increased due to patients shielding and cannot attend treatment room or be reviewed by their G.P. We are continuing to manage the current caseload of patients who are housebound and also carry out covid-19 testing on patients going into respite or attending for hospital procedures.

My role as District Sister has changed in the sense of the increased workload of new patients on the caseload, educating and supporting staff with new policies and guidelines with covid-19. For me, the best aspect of the job is ensuring patients get the expertise care at home and supporting their anxieties through covid-19.

This is the Year of the Nurse/Midwife and although many plans to celebrate has been significantly curtailed due to COVID – what makes you proud to be playing your role as a nurse/midwife?

I am very proud to be a nurse and really enjoyed my career to date. Nursing allows to you travel the world to meet interesting and inspiring colleges and patients. To be a nurse during covid-19 will be something we will all look back and ask – what did you do during this pandemic? I will look back and be very proud we continued to deliver community nursing services in our area.

All health care staff have risen to the challenges faced by this global pandemic. Many traditional services have had to be stopped or done in a different way either via telephone or virtual clinics. Have you experienced this in your role and how do you think this has or hasn’t worked?

I have seen great innovation during covid-19 with GP’s carrying out video consultation with patients, also services such as podiatry and Tissue Viability Team using photographs to clinically assess patient’s wounds rather than waiting for clinic appointment. Education was provided online, credit to Marie Donnelly and team providing excellent training on palliative care for both hospital and community staff.

Our local community volunteers have been so supportive and would like to thank them for donating PPE, care packages and scrubs. Special mention to our local hero’s running marathons in sheds and gardens – it really boosted the moral of the keyworkers thank you so much!

Looking forward to the next year or so – what would you like to see achieved in Health and Social Care?

Increase technology within the community sector.

How does your work help in the overall delivery of Health and Social Care services?

District nursing services prevents hospital admissions, facilitates early discharges and provides an option for patients to remain at home for palliative care. We support families to allow them to care for their loved ones at home. We manage complex health care needs and improve quality of health and life.

Please also include any particular personal messages of how you, your colleagues have supported each other during this global health crisis.

Very proud of the district team in Newtownstewart and Drumquin, the girls have worked extremely hard during covid-19. Behind the masks, the girls are always smiling and will go the extra mile for our patients.

What advice would you give to the public on how they can help the NHS deal with the ongoing pandemic in the months ahead?

Follow the government guidelines and be kind to each other. This pandemic has not only been a physical challenge but also mental health has to be recognised. It is ok to ask for help and we are all in this together.

Rachael is one of 20 nurses and midwives in the Western Trust who are taking part in the Nightingale Challenge. The Nightingale Challenge was launched by Nursing Now – a programme of the Burdett Trust for Nursing, to improve health globally in collaboration with the International Council of Nursing and the World Health Organisation. The Nightingale Challenge asks for every health employer to provide leadership and development training for a group of young nurses and midwives during 2020, the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife.