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Resource launched to help specialist nurses prove their worth

Academics have developed an online tool designed specifically to help specialist nurses prove the benefit of their work.

Ulster University’s school of nursing last week launched the website to provide a set of resources to help specialist nurses communicate the benefit of their work.

The Apollo Nursing Resource, developed in partnership with the medical devices company Coloplast, UK provides specialist nurses with access to essential management tools and advice, as well as offering networking opportunities with colleagues from a range of specialisms.

The resource is intended to help nurses “speak up” about their service, prepare supporting evidence to demonstrate its complexity and have the language to articulate this. For example, it includes sections on “Talking about your work to managers”, how to do a motion or diary card exercise and collecting evidence.

Professor Carol Curran, dean of life and health sciences at Ulster University, said it was developed “in response to the clear need that exists for specialist nursing support across the UK”.

Professor Carol Curran

Professor Carol Curran

“The Apollo resource offers a suite of support tools that specialist nursing staff can use to understand and solve problems, manage physical and financial resources, share problems and most importantly celebrate achievements and successes. 

“We strongly believe that Apollo is a resource that has great potential to provide significant benefits to the daily delivery of specialist nursing care locally and nationally,” she added.

The financial pressures facing the NHS in recent years have coincided with pressure on specialist nursing roles, with some posts down-banded or disappearing altogether. Nurses have also found themselves reassigned to non-specialist roles to fill gaps in services.

Previously specialist nurses have been vulnerable to such cuts because they often work alone and their roles, which usually sit outside traditional job descriptions, are not fully understood by those making financial decisions.

However, resources are starting to come into existence to help specialists prove how important they can be to patient care and, as a result, financial savings.

As revealed by Nursing Times last month, the Generating Evidence in Multiple Sclerosis Services (GEMSS) programme has demonstrated the value of specialist nurses and helped secure jobs.

Readers' comments (10)

  • I'm not a specialist, but could it be that if you have to use a 'tool' in order to justify your existence, then you're probably not required? Surely a specialist nurses input would be palpable without the need of this?

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  • I am not a specialist therefore I have no worth.

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  • Anonymous | 24-Feb-2014 11:51 am

    I am a specialist nurse, and not every manager understands the role of specialist nurses. Some believe that every nurse should be on the ward wiping bottoms, of which I have been told by one, whilst others look at our roles to see if we can take on huge responsibilities in other areas as a cost saving measure. A tool is something managers understand and can relate to so anything to improve patient benefit is a positive.

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  • I am a specialist nurse, I get treated as an FY1 by my consultants that I work for as well as within my own role and speciality. My colleague and I prescribe, discharge patients, support the ward staff, cannulate, venepuncture and more extended scopes than you can shake a stick at, we do a lot of supporting the FY1's when they come onto the ward for their rotation. We take on huge responsibilities and are constantly being asked to provide job mapping so that managers can see what we are doing. If we were not there as a stop gap in doctor's absences it would be chaos. And what band am I - a 6. They have been threatening to deband some of us to a 5, if that happened they could kiss a lot of my scopes goodbye, I certainly wouldn't prescribe anymore, and that saddens me that I feel that way, as I am here for the patients at the end of the day, or I would leave where I would be more appreciated. I dont think people realise the responsibilites that we have.

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  • I am getting tired of nurses who have no idea of what a specialist nurse does making negative comments, as above. Do your research, spend some time with some specialist nurses, and then make your judgement. If you would like the role, which is a brilliant way to use nursing skills, then study, gain experience, and do it. If you don't want to, that's fine too but don't whine about people who do. And I completely agree with the first comment - tools are a waste of time and energy in this context. Just work with a specialist nurse and see what they do in whatever area they cover, and it will be blindingly obvious how every single nursing role has value in different ways. Managers should be well aware of the roles and how many provide consultant level condition management with the addition of nursing skills, for a very cheap cost! And speak to the patients too, see what they think.

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  • tinkerbell

    what a shame specialist nurses have to prove anything! We should support all clinicians who are all doing a vital job not fight amongst ourselves. But hey ho!

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  • Tinkerbell is right. Nursing has to prove its worth (not only specialists) as it has been devalued. Bickering wont help this. Perhaps take a leaf out of the behaviour of other professions and join together for the good of your pts.

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  • Looks like yet another Private company trying to make money out of Nurses and the NHS. I agree with Tinkerbell nursing has been downgraded and it needs to get rid of the non nurses at the NMC, and stop allowing non nurses in trusts to guide the care.

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  • I made the comment above Tinkerbell's and I don't experience any sense of resentment or division where I work, we're all part of a team, and I work throughout the hospital. It really shocks me to see the negative comments from some nurses on here, the saddest thing being that they comment without the first idea of what the roles involve. Aren't we evidence based?

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  • Anonymous | 25-Feb-2014 10:42 pm

    Who is attacking you or your colleagues or trying to take your job? Every time nurse practitioners and specialists are mentioned you come out with the same argument that people don't understand the role of these nurses. I've no doubt that you work hard and make a massive difference to your patients and the team as a whole, but can that really be said of every single practitioner out there?

    If you can only justify your role by using a tool such as this and by producing data that shows how much of a fraction of a % difference you're making then, I think well just be able to manage without you.




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