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Midlands trust drops ward manager title

Traditional nursing titles and new uniforms have been introduced at Burton Hospitals Foundation Trust in a bid to help patients identify staff roles more easily.

Burton matrons

Matrons in their new uniforms: Sam Harrington, Julie Hastelow, Dawn Llewellyn, Mary Brearley

Ward managers are now known as senior sisters or senior charge nurses, while healthcare assistants are referred to as nursing assistants.

In midwifery teams, ward managers are being rebadged as senior midwives.

Trust director of nursing Brendan Brown said the decision was made after talking to patients, their families and carers, and a broad range of registered nursing and support staff.

“It was clear that we needed to make it as easy as possible for patients and visitors to understand the roles and responsibilities of members of staff,” he said.

“We also wanted job titles to accurately reflect the work that people do and be consistent with colleagues across the health service,” he added.

In addition, matrons at the trust are wearing new uniforms in navy with red piping – part of a strategy to make them more visible and accessible.

Mr Brown said: “The new distinctive uniform makes them easily visible to patients, visitors or staff wishing to ask questions or raise issues.”

 

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Readers' comments (21)

  • michael stone

    Good - this (distinctive uniforms and clear titles for roles) was discussed on this website a while back. Except I'm not sure why the title of ward manager definitely needs to go ?

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  • I have been a nurse for 41 years. Maybe it is because I have lived through most titles over the years, but the different titles suggest different things to me. A sister suggests someone who nurtures her staff as well as patients, whereby ward manager suggests someone slightly removed from the human side of things. Just my thoughts and opinion.

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  • I think the problem lies in the way the term 'manager' is used in the press. The general public may have no idea that the term 'ward manager' refers to an experienced nurse or midwife, especially if (as in some areas) their clinical input is very limited and they rarely have direct patient contact.

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  • itdoesnt matter wht title you giv staff if the culture of the organisationsdoesnt change the the result will be the same

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  • We made this change three years ago.
    I was quizzed this week by a patients group who still were not sure who actually manages the ward. They were pleased with the explaination as to why we removed the ward manager title and use Senior Sister and that we publise by pictorial reference who the matron Senior Sister and Ward Sister is.

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  • perhaps older nursing titles are what the public and even the profession and colleagues expect and understand better than all these new managerial titles imposed upon them from the mid-80s on. maybe this former titles are the true essence of the profession which should be carried with pride and reverted to and retained?

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  • michael stone

    Anonymous | 11-Jan-2014 9:05 am

    That is definitely true - and using 'new titles' as a cover for no real change, is also an unhelpful trick.

    Probably, reflecting on my earlier comment about the title of ward manager, I hadn't quite thought it through.

    It isn't the title of Ward Manager that you need - could be Sister, or whatever: what needs to be clear to patients, is who is in charge of the ward (i.e 'managing it') at any given time - so that if something goes wrong, you know 'whose watch it happened on'.

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  • Things change all the time in nursing , which is good for the profession.However ,uniform and staff titles are definitely a part of nursing that should have a traditional feel.Well done Burton Hospital ! I hope this new look and smartness will be spread across the whole of the work force.

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  • Doesn't matter a fig what you call anyone, if there aren't enough of them and their role is made impossible by the complete lack of control over their role, the way their ward is run, staffing levels, workloads, etc.,etc.

    A silly new uniform and name style harking back to imagined better times (that actually never existed....really!), changes absolutely nothing. All that has happened is that these ward sisters are now an easier to identify target (you may as well provide them with a Star Trek 'red jersey). But it seems to have fooled many here, so the public will probably be quite happy.

    This is just cosmetic. No substantial change at all.

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  • Anonymous | 12-Jan-2014 12:44 pm

    Oh dear. I don't think it is harking back to 'so-called' better times, it's more of something the public are familiar with. Wonder why they chose the term 'Matron' too? However, I agree it may be only cosmetic unless the underlying issues are addressed.

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  • Anonymous | 12-Jan-2014 9:36 pm

    "Oh dear. I don't think it is harking back to 'so-called' better times, it's more of something the public are familiar with"

    Really? I'm not. Most people under the age of 40 will have no familiarity with the old name styling. So why change it unless there is a perception that it meant something better? This is straight out of the government nudge unit little book of good deas to mug the public. It will apparently fool some, but not all of us.

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  • I have no problem being a ward sister. I like the title. I've been called worse things than ward manager, though it does tend to mask the fact that I'm a real nurse rather than somebody who's just office bound and in charge of the paperclips.

    My problem is that HCAs tend to be dressed up as nurses and patients are confused by this. I'd like to see this distinction clarified. Some lines can't be blurred without patient safety being compromised.

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  • tinkerbell

    Anonymous | 13-Jan-2014 12:21 pm

    'I have no problem being a ward sister. I like the title'

    So did I, much preferred it to 'manager'

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  • Next we'll be wearing hats, aprons and carrying lamps.
    Nursing has endured a long fight to be recognised as a profession rather than a doctors handmaiden.
    Despite moves to degree level entry, we still need to convince the public we have a broad and evidence based knowledge base on which we deliver their care. This is a step backwards and we do ourselves no favours in reinforcing ourselves as female dominated occupation and reverting back to tradition.

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  • Ruth Berry | 13-Jan-2014 7:57 pm

    Couldn't agree more.

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  • A lot of time and money could be saved, by not having uniform and name/title changes.
    Just give all staff 1 big name badge with their job title, 20 point Arial should be a decent sized font for my poor eyes.
    Ward senior sister, could wear a fluorescent orange tabard, Matron could have a day-glo yellow, Head of nursing has one like Matron but with silver reflective stripes and Chief Exec also with red circle around a red dot in the middle ;o)

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  • As long as the uniform indicated the job they do and not simply a badge change
    Nice to see the buckle still in use

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  • Thought they'd banned the buckle?! Infection control, patient injury issues, etc.! Oh dear. A step back in time to a 'Carry On Nurse' mentality.

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  • tinkerbell

    looks more like a safety harness 'strap yourself in we're going for a ride'

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  • tinkerbell

    It is not tradition holding nurses back today merely excuses. It is more likely apathy, fear and ignorance of their own power. Roles and titles haven't prevented Australian nurses from taking a stand and neither did it the suffragettes some of whom were nurses.

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