This interview is part of the hub's 'Frontline insights during the pandemic' series where Martin Hogan interviews healthcare professionals from various specialties to capture their experience and insight during the coronavirus pandemic. Here Martin interviews a chief nurse of clinical productivity leading dynamic change within culture and governance. 15 years in the post, the chief nurse is responsible for leading improvement in standards of nursing and service.
Questions & Answers
Martin: What has your experience been like around patient/staff safety during the pandemic?
Chief nurse: Patient safety has always been paramount and continues to be for every member of staff. However, guidance on resuscitation of covid positive patients or patients suspected with covid is difficult to comprehend and goes against my principles and the principles of nursing. But I do understand the rationale behind it.
Martin: What resources have been easily available for you to maintain safety from your department/trust?
Chief nurse: Local, regional and national guidance is always shared and updated. There are discussions weekly on updated guidance and how this can be implemented at a trust level.
Martin: What have been some of the positives/negatives you have taken away?
Chief nurse: The positives have been the great team work from all members of staff. There has been nothing but support for each other which has shown a fantastic ‘one team’ mentality. Negatives would have to be the long hours, little to no respite, lack of equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE), which adds to the day to day stress.
Martin: How well have you been supported by your seniors? What could have been improved?
Chief nurse: I have been left to get on with things and run things the way I need to for my team. My line manager has been seconded out and as such I have no one I can talk to in a management perspective that understands my role.
Martin: What skills do you have to better enable patient safety and how did you acquire these?
Chief nurse: The skills I needed were to be more challenging when it was required. Instead of taking a piece of paper as gospel, I will question it if I think it needs to be challenged and this has led to positive changes.
Martin: How have you coped during the pandemic?
Chief nurse: At first I was fine and I took this on as a challenge. However, over the weeks the pressure has mounted and the hours have increased significantly. I am not sleeping well, if at all, but I am finding ways to cope and adapt.
Reflections and final thoughts...
Leading a team can be difficult, even more so during a crises, and it is important to have a team that works well together. It is great to hear that in this team there is support for each other with everyone working towards a common goal. However, as we are continuously hearing, the long hours, lack of equipment and PPE can further add stress to an already stressful situation. It is important that everyone, at every level and in every role, can access support and help when needed.
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