Aug 022016
 
Amanda Wilkinson, nursing student at Bangor Univeristy

Amanda Wilkinson, nursing student at Bangor Univeristy

I was so pleased to have the opportunity to attend the Patient Safety Congress. I have been keen to get involved and find out more about 1000 Lives Improvement and this was an opportunity to spend time with members of the team and learn from healthcare professionals all over the world that would be in attendance. It was great to meet fellow nursing student Bianca Jourdain from Swansea University.

From the beginning I felt empowered by Dr Suzette Woodward, director of ‘Sign up to Safety’ who valued pride for patient safety and recognised that staff should be cared for when involved in incidents. Dr Woodward spoke of compassion, trust and human conversations which link with the fundamentals of care that I am learning in my first year as an adult nursing student. The words which resonated with me the most are:

 “Learn as much as possible and never be judgemental”.

Dr Claire Gordon, Consultant in Acute Medicine at Lothian University Hospitals NHS Trust explained how planning is important in patient care with involvement from the patient and the multidisciplinary team. Clear plans should be used however small such as ‘today Mrs Jones the plan for you is to walk ten steps’. The use of planning and ‘leading indicators’ was also spoken of by Professor Maxine Power, Director of Haelo,  who also valued communication with the whole team when planning improvement. “Staff need to be aware of what they are measuring and why”. Receiving feedback means staff can see the process is worthwhile and continue to measure. Always Events® took this another step further and suggested that improvement planning should involve patients, families, carers and staff.

Technology featured prominently at the Congress. There were many companies offering electronic recording for patients’ observations with automatic escalation to the doctor and prompts, reminders and task management. Datix also attended, they showed their reporting of incidents to Bianca and I. We then achieved the second highest score on their quiz, coming second only to their own manager – another win for us both and we got to take home @thedatixbear as a reward.

Students Amanda and Bianca with the Datix bear

Students Amanda and Bianca with the Datix bear

Strong themes of trust and teamwork prevailed across the talks over the two days which was widely considered to promote openness and courage for staff to report and learn from incidents without the worry of blame. Whilst a large aspect of the Congress explored new technology for collecting and analysing data; it was evident to me that the culture within the teams was fundamental to achieving this. The need for clinical competence and judgement was highly regarded: not to over rely on checklists and numbers – sometimes a patient is ‘just not right’ and we should not be afraid to act on this.

Patient safety wasn’t the only lesson for me – I also mastered the use of chopsticks when we went to China Town for supper!

I found it sad when the Congress came to an end but was reminded by Dave Hill, Service Improvement Manager at 1000 Lives Improvement, that this is just the beginning of my journey. This experience has increased my enthusiasm and commitment to quality improvement as part of my nursing career. Thank you 1000 Lives Improvement for making it possible and for making Bianca and I feel like part of the team.

Please take a minute to look at this inspirational leadership video that was shown by Advancing Quality Alliance: https://www.ted.com/talks/drew_dudley_everyday_leadership#t-315150

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