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Hertfordshire trust pilots 'nurse in charge' badges


Staff at a hospital in Watford are trialling a new 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 Trust, started testing the badge last week.

“I definitely think from the feedback we’ve had that we will be rolling it out”

Gabrielle Leyshon

Already the feedback has been extremely positive, said medical division matron Gabrielle Leyshon, who said the badges gave both patients and staff confidence.

She said the move followed a Care Quality Commission visit, which flagged up the fact it was hard to tell who was in charge of each ward.

“It was highlighted during our CQC visit that people entering the wards didn’t have a visual aid to say who was in charge,” she told Nursing Times. “So we started trialling this new badge – the nurse in charge – for a month and we’ve had some fantastic feedback so far.

“The doctors know who’s in charge of the ward, so they can walk up and handover and can be confident they’re speaking to the right person,” she said. “If the bed management team have any questions about the management of the ward they know who to ask.


West Hertfordshire Hospitals Trust


Ms Leyshon added: “And it’s quite a confidence booster for relatives to be able to walk in and say ‘oh that’s the nurse in charge, that’s the person I need to see’.”

She said the badge provided clarity for nursing staff, patients, relatives and members of the multi-disciplinary team, as well as giving the nurse wearing the badge added authority.

“Usually people think that the sister is in charge of the ward but not always, because when we’re developing staff like band 6s we ask them to take charge,” she added.

If the pilot continues to go well the “nurse in charge” badges will be rolled out across the trust. “I definitely think from the feedback we’ve had that we will be rolling it out,” said Ms Leyshon.


Readers' comments (9)

  • *Waits for the complaining and sniping comments*

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  • michael stone

    This is on the same general theme as the NT discussion from a while back, of differently-coloured uniforms, to make it clear who was an HCA, who a junior nurse, who was the nurse 'running the ward', etc.

    It is - as a layman - 'rather terrifying' to discover that the doctors couldn't previously easily figure out who the nurse in charge of the ward was !

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  • CQC should be applauded for suggesting this initiative ,we should always look at things from the prespective of the patients, relatives and visitors.Keep it up CQC , at last you seem to have found some positive direction.

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  • why not revert to the old days. Uniform colours are the key not small badges barely readable to those with eye sight issues. We are just going around and around in circles. In the old days ward sisters wore navy blue and had a badge with Sister..there was none of this ambiguity then.

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  • I think it is a great idea. Uniform colours are more confusing and non identifiable to the untrained eye especially with similiar styles and colours. It just makes sense for any non personal arena to make it clear to everyone who you are and what you do. Well done. And for anon 9.04am: gosh what has made you so cynical before anyone even had the chance to speak?! Any improvements no matter how small should be applauded.

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  • Gone are the days when Sister was in her navy uniform and it was obvious she was in charge!

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  • Why can't people ask "Who's the nurse in charge?"

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  • Been doing this for ages in my trust..Makes very little difference at all..Managers and doctors still head for the member of staff they know to be the most senior nurse on duty irrespective of who is wearing the badge.

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  • Aren't most of the "in charge" nurses stuck behind a computer screen in the office?
    Hardly accessible even for those of us who know who they are!

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