As I walked to a meeting in the Children’s Hospital for Wales recently, I found myself reflecting on how much has happened since I came into post in January, when prior to my current role, I was based at that very hospital.
My nursing career commenced in 1984 when I started my RGN training in Bangor, North Wales, close to my home town on Anglesey. Upon qualifying, I started as a Staff Nurse on the paediatric unit before obtaining my RSCN in Great Ormond Street in 1989. I then moved to Cardiff where my career has progressed to the present day. I feel I have been fortunate to have insight into paediatric nursing in both rural and urban settings, in tertiary and district general hospitals. This insight has proved invaluable to me in connecting with new colleagues from hospitals across Wales and to understand some of the pressures they experience and the challenges they seek to overcome.
Not all the changes I have seen during my career have been positive, but the introduction of the Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Act, 2016 I believe will be one of the most important changes I have witnessed. I consider it to be a positive step for health boards, nursing staff and most importantly, for our children, young people and their families.
The All Wales Nurse Staffing Programme supports NHS Wales in meeting the requirements of the Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Act, which places a legal duty upon health boards and trusts to ensure that they are providing sufficient nurses to allow nurses time to care for patients sensitively.
The role of the paediatric work stream is to devise an evidence based approach to determine appropriate staffing levels within identified paediatric inpatient wards. The approach must be evidenced in the Welsh context and follow a common model of triangulation, which centres on three critical sources of knowledge: patient acuity, quality indicators and professional judgement. To date, 18 inpatient paediatric wards over the five health boards have been involved in capturing the acuity data for the audits on a twice daily basis.
In June this year, we hosted a successful paediatric event where paediatric nurses came together from across Wales to share their knowledge and expertise in reviewing and revising the new draft paediatric Welsh levels of care in preparation for testing on the wards.
My enthusiasm for this project has intensified during this time, due to fantastic reception I have received from colleagues across the whole of Wales and the sense that something very significant can be achieved through collaborative working, forming partnerships and support systems that could potentially transcend the aims of the current project.