07 July 2015

Chief Exec's Blog - back to the front line

blog-mini-pinkMy latest front line shift was on Juniper Ward in Weston-super-Mare. Juniper Ward is a mixed, acute in-patient unit providing care to the residents of North Somerset. As I am no longer registered as a nurse I was billed as 'bank' healthcare assistant.

I arrived at 7.25am and had the pleasure of meeting the night staff, who gave me an outline of our guests on the ward. I did not attend handover, but was given a very comprehensive SBAR (Situation/Background/Action/Report) report on every guest. I was introduced to all of the guests by a fellow healthcare assistant who explained observation and engagement and showed me around.

The layout of the ward had clearly improved. Staff were pleased to show me plans for further remodelling of the ward, which will be done in the coming weeks. The mix of guests seemed complex and challenging. The commitment to providing an 'ageless' service which doesn't classify guests as old when they turn 65, added to the rich mix of guests on the ward and to the physical health needs being attended to by staff.

It was encouraging to see engaging activity on the ward. I was able to be part of the Coffee and Morning Papers Group an Art Group and was, at one point, joined by a keen guitarist. I went to The Coffee Shop with one of our guests and learned a great deal about his life, his time in our care and the improvements he felt we could make. I had the opportunity to assist the nurse in charge to bathe one of our guests who had some considerable physical healthcare needs. This illustrated the need for us to ensure that all of our wards are equipped to support the changing needs.

I found myself applying the 'Is this good enough for my Mum?' test. For the most part yes, as there seemed to be enough staff, who were caring, compassionate and very committed and guests were engaging in various activities. The food on the ward was good and sufficient. The guests I spoke to described high quality care, attention and support.

What would I change to really make it 'good enough'? Complete the work on the layout of the ward, work to make the environment less austere and enhance the healing environment, making sure that our staff have the right tools and equipment to do the job, particularly as we change the mix of patients. My commitment is to put these matters in hand and deliver them quickly. It's what our guests deserve and our staff expect.

As leaders if we want to understand how our services really are, we need to get out more and see, hear, feel and smell what is going on.

Thank you to our staff on Juniper Ward for doing a great job.

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