How do we become a Jack of All Trades?

A report back on Kate Allardice's session Jack of All Trades – a nursing experience of Hep C treatment outreach work in the TAP study. 

As nurses working with vulnerable and difficult to engage communities, we are constantly looking for new ways to become a Jack of all trades. Kate and her team’s innovative program is an exemplary example of how we can create new models of care & remove barriers.

Kate and her team had the innovative idea of setting up a van that is equipped to perform hepatitis C screening, treatment, follow up and monitoring. This allowed them to access those vulnerable people on the streets who were difficult to engage in mainstream health services, particularly IVDUs. By meeting client’s on their terms and in a place that is familiar and comfortable to them, the team were able to remove a significant barrier to care.

Over the period of the study, nurses were able to see their client’s regularly to supply treatment and build a rapport that helped to keep client’s returning to the service. Kate mentioned a wonderful outcome of the program in that she noticed an increase in the self-worth and hope of her clients.

Kate and her team were able to cure 264 people of Hepatitis C during this trial. While these numbers show the incredible success of this innovative model of care, it’s also important to remember those interactions that we cannot measure with quantitative data. The rapport and trust built between hard to reach clients and the healthcare system, the informal education, the increased self-worth and autonomy of these clients.

As nurses, a phrase we often hear is “patient centred care” but rarely do we get the privilege to see this policy in practice making a huge difference in people’s lives.

In my role as a community generalist in the Pilbara, our clients are often very transient and are difficult to locate or contact. Listening to Kate’s presentation it inspires innovation and reform in the models of care we offer. How can we meet people on their terms? After all, change is both needed and necessary to achieve desired health outcomes in our vulnerable communities.  Thank you Kate, for inspiring me to become a Jack.

Author bio: Kaitlyn is a Community Generalist (Graduate Program) in Karratha, WA.