In light of the National movement towards 7 day working, the Royal United Hospitals Critical Care (CCS) and Surgical Physiotherapy team felt it would be ideal to trial Physiotherapy students working at weekends to explore the impact on patient care.
This activity was based on a model used at St Georges, London. 4 year 3 students on placement on CCS & Surgery were asked to work one weekend shift and take a day off in lieu in the week.
Prior to the weekend working, students were given competencies to achieve and guidance about the proposed trial. Ward managers were informed of the student weekend working plan in advance of the proposed shift.
On the day of the weekend shift, students reported to Senior Physiotherapist (known to themselves) working on CCS with the Respiratory On-call Physiotherapy Service. Students were advised to contact the Senior Physiotherapist for any advice or support.
Students were given their own bleeps to be contacted on. All 4 students had a list of patients (known to themselves) to see on wards they have worked on during their placement. This list was created with their Clinical Educator the day before the weekend shift. Students also offered their support to the other weekend physiotherapy services in place to support weekend patient discharges home.
At the end of the shift, all notes were reviewed and countersigned by the Senior Physiotherapist on CCS and students were also asked to complete an evaluation.
Nurse and patient feedback was gathered by the CCS Senior Physiotherapist.
13 patients were listed to be seen on the weekend. 3 patients declined therapy. 2 were not suitable to be seen due to changes in their condition. All patients seen made progress with their therapy. 5 additional patients were seen with the Physiotherapist providing the Discharge Weekend Service, 3 of whom were discharged form therapy and made fit for home. 1 patient was seen on CCS for rehabilitation under the guidance of the CCS Physiotherapist On-Call.
Feedback from patients;
• ‘They were brilliant’
• ‘The more you do, the better you get’
• ‘Certainly helped……. It’s good for continuity’
• ‘Good to have it, I didn’t fancy it though’
• ‘Good idea, it gave me something to do…… it’s quiet at the weekend’
Feedback from Senior Nurse in charge;
• ‘They were a help, we don’t always get time at a weekend to walk patients’
• ‘They do need to do weekends….. some may find it better’
Feedback from the students;
•‘Made me feel valued and respected’
•‘Good guidance and support into the weekend (i.e. confidence and making us fully aware of willing support available if needed)’
•’I feel it was clear what our expectations of ourselves were and beneficial that it was in week 4 and we already knew the flow of the wards’
•‘Enjoyed working with weekend Physiotherapists and joint working and to work on wards not usually/ not been on yet’‘
•’Enjoyed the responsibility’.