Distinctive red armbands for senior nursing staff are being introduced at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust so patients know who is in charge.
The initiative is similar to those being considered by several other hospitals around the country, but is believed to be the first using armbands.
The “nurse in charge” armbands were trialled on the trust’s surgical wards following comments from patients who said it could be difficult to know who the senior nurse on a ward was.
“The armbands are like those worn by football team captains”
The trust said it initially tested a range of methods for identifying the nurse in charge of a ward, including badges and bibs.
As well as being clearly visible, it noted that it was essential that any new materials complied with standards for infection control, were cost effective and comfortable to wear.
After the armbands were introduced on trial wards, the trust said patients and visitors provided feedback that it was easier to quickly establish who the nurse in charge was, which was “helpful and reassuring”.
They will be introduced in all clinical areas of Guy’s and St Thomas’ over the coming months, said the trust.
Dame Eileen Sills, the trust’s chief nurse and director of patient experience, said: “The armbands are like those worn by football team captains so that they can be easily identified.
“Our ‘nurse in charge’ armbands show who is the most senior person responsible for the nursing team on a ward,” she said.
As previously reported by Nursing Times, staff at a hospital in Watford are trialling a badge that shows other professionals, patients and relatives they are the “nurse in charge”.
The 10-ward medical division at Watford General Hospital, run by West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, started testing the badge last month.
A similar initiative was started by Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust in January, using red “shift leader” badges.