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New specialist nurse role helping to enhance patient journey

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A new specialist nurse role is helping to improve the patient experience, according to Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Kath Robertson was a sister on the male surgical ward at Queen’s Hospital for eight years before piloting a new surgical assessment nurse role. 

After a successful four-week pilot, the post was made permanent and last year another surgical assessment nurse was recruited to strengthen the service. 

“The surgical assessment nurses are able to provide consistent and effective communication to consultants”

Kath Robertson

The newly-established service has helped to provide a more streamlined journey for acute surgical patients, according to the trust.

Ms Robertson said: “Previously, the on-call consultants liaised with a variety of ward nurses. Now the surgical assessment nurses are able to provide consistent and effective communication to consultants working with both elective and emergency surgical patients.”

She added that she helped to introduce surgical “hot clinics”, which see on average 20-25 patients per month.

“We assess patients who are presenting with abdominal pain but do not require admission to hospital,” she said.

“The patient can have their scan in the morning and receive a diagnosis in the afternoon so many patients are able to go home on the same day or the day after their treatment,” said Ms Robertson.

The trust has also created a new “frailty team”, consisting of physiotherapists, occupational therapists, advanced nurse practitioners and a social care assessor who look after patients over 75.

The team usually start working with patients at point of admission to the emergency department or acute assessment centre, using the trust’s new Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment tool. 

A treatment plan is then put in place for the patient there and then with the patient, family and carers at the heart.

Physiotherapy team leader Sarah Elliott said: “This is a different way of working and it’s proved to be really successful. By starting the assessments as soon as possible, this has helped to reduce inappropriate hospitalisation of frail patients and potentially reduce the need for long term care.”

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