On the 11th March for NHS Change Day, the staff at Central Manchester Foundation Trust came together to make pledges to improve patient care.
I (a Junior Doctor) decided to undertake a ‘shift on a trolley’ in order to understand one small aspect of how it can be for patients when they are waiting on an A+E trolley for a prolonged period of time; prompting me in the future to do what I can to make the experience more comfortable for patients, even if that is just offering a cup of tea. I therefore took to my trolley in the A+E department for the duration of a 10 hour shift. I asked my fellow colleagues to come visit me and make a small pledge of something they could do to improve patient care and experience or staff care and experience. Together each of our small actions will make a big difference in improving the care and wellbeing of those who use the NHS.
The day was hugely successful, with a grand total of 216 staff pledges made by nurses, care support workers, junior doctors, consultants, paramedics, porters, administration and clerical staff, and Sodexo staff. Senior members of the organisation, including the Assistant Medical Director, the Clinical Head of Division and the Divisional Manger, supported me by taking a 30 minute turn on the trolley when they called to make their pledge.
The pledges made ranged from simply ‘offering patients a cup of tea’ while they were waiting in the Emergency Department to ‘answering a bleep with a smile’ and ‘keeping patients and families updated even when busy’. These pledges were then mapped against Trust values and behaviors to create the ‘CMFT pledge wheel’.
All staff where offered the opportunity to sign up to ‘hello my name is…’ campaign and have their photo taken for a NHS change day video.
What did I learn from being on the trolley? The trolleys are uncomfortable after a while, especially with no pillow. Being moved on them is horrible as they are hard to steer and you get bumped into everything. Feeling unwell whilst on one must be horrible. I will take away this feeling and remember the discomfort, and from now on I will challenge myself to find a patient a pillow, or even something that can be used as a pillow. Understanding more how it feels to be on the trolley will prompt me to acknowledge the discomfort people are in and offer a little more empathy, and perhaps a cup of tea too.