LIKE all nurses, community matron Margaret Glaves often has to break bad news to patients and their relatives.
“Even after doing it for 34 years, it never gets any easier. You learn to cope with it, but every patient is different and it can be very hard.”
Margaret, aged 49, epitomises the changing approach to healthcare.
As a community matron, her job is to work with chronically ill patients in their own homes, keeping them out of hospital.
Hospitals are busy and expensive to run and there is a risk of catching norovirus and other bugs.
The NHS in Sheffield is ploughing resources into community and district care, trying to care for as many people as possible at home.
Margaret has worked across the health service in Sheffield over her 34-year nursing career.
She has worked in hospitals and GP surgeries, specialised in HIV and cancer, and for the last six years has been a community matron – an advanced nurse practitioner with the same prescribing power as a doctor.
“Our main aim is provide support and education, empowering people to achieve their potential and live with their conditions at home,” she said.
The mum to two boys, who lives in Beauchief with husband Chris, 49, is based in Millhouses with two other community matrons, covering 20 GP practices across south-west Sheffield.
Her focus is working with patients with serious long-term conditions – they might have heart failure, chronic breathing difficulties, unstable diabetes or neurological conditions.
“We work with a team of therapists and specialists,” she said.
“My role is to co-ordinate that care and develop new services in the community.”
She added: “You have to be very adaptable and resourceful, to deal with any situation in the field.
“You don’t have the resources of a hospital, or a doctor in the next room, so you have to cope with big challenges on a daily basis. We have some very unwell patients.”
But, despite the challenges, Margaret insists she loves her job.
“The best bit is being able to give people a choice about where they want to have their care,” she said.
“And helping patients to recover from acute episodes gives me a great deal of satisfaction, being able to use my knowledge and skills every day to help people.”