I have worked in nursing for the whole of my career. I come from a family who work in the NHS – my mum was a nurse, and I have a drive to make care the best it can be.
In a job like mine, looking after the quality of care in a large hospital, no two days are the same, and the wide variety of the work is a major attraction.
I wake at around 5.30am. I particularly love the spring mornings when it’s light. I usually have a light breakfast and then it takes me an hour to drive to work at the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham in Edgbaston, which gives me a chance to clear my head before starting the day.
I’m usually in uniform by 7.30am. The first thing I do is check my messages, review my diary for the day and generally get a feel of the organisation by checking what the bed state is.
A typical day will see me doing everything from seeing staff about their services, planning new initiatives, reviewing the standards of care and talking to patients and their relatives.
As I manage facilities too, I never miss the opportunity to check that everywhere is clean, a key action in our continued reduction of hospital associated infections.
I meet regularly with the ward nursing leaders and matrons to see how we can improve care further and share good practice.
To make sure that staff provide the care people need, they in turn need the right education and training. My role includes working closely with local universities to make sure that what people learn in their pre-registration education as nurses is reflected in both their theoretical and clinical experience.
I believe that the little things make the difference to our patients, so spending time interacting with them is key. Our hourly care rounds, which ensure that the patients see a healthcare professional on a regular basis, have been a major component in ensuring our patients are safe and not feeling isolated by the environment, which is designed to provide privacy and dignity.
The key ways in which I have used hard evidence to provide real clinical change have been in the management of patient falls and pressure ulcers.
With both of these issues our focus has been in ensuring that we record what happens to people and, as a result, we have changed the way we assess and care for patients. This has enabled us to make real change, for example in reducing the harm from patient falls year on year, and to focus on prevention.
Most important to me is the patients’ experience, how they feel about the care they get and how we use this to shape our ongoing services. We get thousands of pieces of feedback each month, which is overwhelmingly positive.
We scrutinise this information, looking for ways in which we can make the experience for each patient better, and one of our most recent successes has been in improving patients’ rest and sleep through reduction of noise at night.
As to the big question – would you have your loved ones cared for here – my answer is a resounding yes, every time.
I usually finish work and get home around 7pm. I take time to read documents for the next day, and access my emails on my BlackBerry (a truly addictive device). My free time is spent with my family, enjoying my home and getting out in the fresh air.