Back to Reality

Back to Reality

As a Lecturer of Children and Young Peoples Nursing, I spend the majority of my time on university campus so getting out in to the real world of practice is something I look forward to. It means that I can use what I learn to enhance my teaching. It adds a ‘reality’ value of being able to link theory to real world issues, something the students seem to appreciate.

Last week I was privileged to spend the day shadowing Karen Dawber, Executive Director of Nursing at Warrington and Halton NHS trust. Karen had a packed schedule and I thoroughly enjoyed watching and learning, and I came away with pages of notes to return to and reflect on.

After a morning Clinical Commissioning Group meeting, the day continued with a Nursing and Midwifery Advisory Committee meeting. Karen presented a draft of their new Nursing Strategy to Senior Nurses and Matrons. It was clear from this that Karen and her team are working towards a culture of safe and effective nursing practice, bringing back some traditional values. Senior nursing staff are back in uniform and lots of positive comments were made. Senior staff looked smart, professional and senior in their pinstriped uniforms. I liked it. I think it portrayed an image of professional nurse leaders. I was impressed by the amount of work that nurse leaders and managers were doing behind the scenes. I saw lots of great initiatives particularly around dementia. There is a team of voluntary knitters making twiddlemuffs which appear to making a huge difference to the lives of those with dementia. There were many other great ideas, too many to mention.

I was however disappointed at one point and  I’m sure Karen won’t mind me saying that I had a ‘WOW’ moment when I heard that staff aren’t always introducing themselves to patients but this is something they are working on. As a student nurse I was taught to introduce myself to every single patient and family I was caring for and this continued thoughout my career. When the Twitter campaign #hellomynameis was introduced by @GrangerKate I was saddened and disappointed and couldn’t actually believe that anyone would approach a patient without introducing themselves. Now, having learned that in the real world of clinical practice, nurses aren’t always introducing themselves, I totally support it, as does Karen. I find it hard to understand the reasons why any nurse wouldn’t introduce themselves. Hence my ‘WOW’ moment! I can see that with Karen’s leadership however, that things are going to change at Warrington!

So what else have I learned? Well, I learned more about CQUIN, FFT, Dashboards, PGD, Whistleblowing, Duty of Candour, Transparency, Schwartz Rounds, Permission to Act, Root Cause Analysis, Safety Thermometers, NEWS, Numeracy skills, HSMR, SHMI, and TAPS. In addition to learning what the initials stood for, I also learned about how they impact on those people out there in ‘the real world’. I also learned that although NHS staff don’t always get it right, they do work very hard to make things right, and yes this is reality. It was good to get back to reality, it offered a different perspective and made me feel proud of our hardworking, determined NHS staff. I’m proud to say that I have played a part in preparing our student nurses for reality.

I would like to thank Karen Dawber for giving me the opportunity to get ‘back to reality’.

Now, how can I fit all of this into the nursing curriculum?


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