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”.
“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.