Communication cards

60 - Comunication cardHi. My name is Emma Pownall and I am a Registered Nurse at Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

I felt that it was important for the patient to have a point of contact whilst awaiting surgery. With this in mind I developed a communication card that incorporated the patient's named nurse in the pre-operative assessment unit and included the hellomynameis logo, to be given to each patient attending the unit.

So why did I make this change?

One of my patients had been listed for major orthopaedic surgery after suffering months of pain and sleepless nights, and they made the difficult decision to proceed with surgery. After a visit to the pre-operative assessment unit, the patient was sent home to wait for a date for surgery. During this time it was established that the patient would need further investigations in order to optimise her health prior to surgery.

When a patient makes a formal complaint; it is often not a decision a patient makes lightly. This patient was anxious and felt vulnerable in the hands of the healthcare system and it was at this point that she felt the need to complain, because she didn't know what was happening and felt she was not getting the answers she needed with regard to her pending surgery.

I was extremely eager to address the complaint to resolve the patients concerns and to prevent this happening again.

In 2013 Jeremy Hunt suggested that all patients will have named doctors and nurses listed above their hospital beds who will act as "champions" for their care, but a named nurse could apply to patients on a surgical pathway as well as in-patients.

When a patient attends the pre-operative assessment unit every health care worker introduces themselves to the patient, this best practice was enhanced following the implementation of the #hellomynameis campaign in the Trust.

However after a patient has made the decision to proceed with surgery they are given an enormous amount of information and they often forget the nurse's name, and therefore would be confused about who to contact with a query, which is why I developed a communication card that incorporated the patient's named nurse in the pre-operative assessment unit.

Support from the Trust chairman Sean Lyons and clinical illustration department enabled us to have a batch printed almost immediately.

This simple idea has proved extremely effective in ensuring each patient has a named nurse whilst waiting for elective surgery whilst allaying patients anxieties and concerns.
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