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Children’s hospital launches first ever nursing strategy

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Sheffield’s Children’s NHS Foundation Trust has set out key commitments to quality, professional development, and listening to staff and patients in its first strategy for nursing and allied health.

The document, launched yesterday at an event attended by England’s chief nursing officer, sets out five broad commitments to excellence, accountability, teamwork, compassion and integrity.

“This is one way to equip nurses with the skills they need for the future”

Sally Shearer

It is the brainchild of the trust’s director of nursing and quality Sally Shearer, who came into post 15 months ago, and was put together following consultation with staff.

The over-arching commitments in the document were drawn up after two “time out” days mainly attended by band 6 and 7 nurses and allied health professionals.

A draft version was displayed on posters in each ward and department, and nurses and others were encouraged to add or cross things out and discuss it in team meetings.

The feedback was then reviewed by Ms Shearer, trust matrons and lead AHPs who agreed the final document.

“We had to make it quite broad because, as well as covering a range of healthcare professionals, it also covers a whole range of services,” Ms Shearer told Nursing Times.

“So, it is not just a strategy for an acute hospital, but also for our transport service, mental health, health visiting and school nursing services,” she said. “We wanted it to be very inclusive.”

“Normally you just count nurses, but on some of our wards AHPs are making a real contribution”

Sally Shearer

Key pledges include “ensuring every member of our team is listen to, appreciated and valued” and having a culture where “staff, children, young people, families and carers are encouraged to raise concerns without prejudice”.

There is a commitment to “professional development through engagement, training, appraisal and supervision”, she added.

The strategy also promises that nurses and AHPs will embrace research, develop and share new ideas and “contribute to the provision of a sustainable, dynamic, clinically credible and responsive workforce”.

Ms Shearer said the strategy would form the basis for annual action plans. Key priorities included addressing issues raised by the Care Quality Commission in its latest inspection report, published in October last year, she noted.

The trust was rated “good” overall by the regulator, but was told it “requires improvement” on some aspects of safety. There were particular concerns around transitional services that help with the shift from children’s to adult services, which were also rated “requires improvement” by the CQC.

The trust has already staged a “transition workshop” attended by 100 members of staff where young patients described what it was like to go through transition and what would have made it easier.

“There are opportunities for acute nurses to work for mental health services and get some experience”

Sally Shearer

Ms Shearer said the trust was taking a “multi-professional approach” to improving services. Provision would be audited against guidelines on transition developed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, she said, and all services would then devise an action plan.

Meanwhile, the trust has upped nursing input to its transition team from two days a week to five days a week, which involved nurses with a range of expertise, including mental health.

When it came to workforce development and research, short-term steps in the strategy included expanding the number of nurses studying for PhDs.

Ms Shearer said the aim was also to look at workforce needs for the future and the potential for new roles and training opportunities, such as rotational posts.

“There are great opportunities to offer rotational posts given we provide such a wide range of services,” she said. “For example, there are opportunities for acute nurses to work for mental health services and get some mental health experience.

She added: “A high proportion of young people coming into our emergency department at the moment have mental health issues and we have young people with mental health issues on our acute wards while we find them an appropriate bed. This is one way to equip nurses with the skills they need for the future.”

She said the action plan might also include looking at ways nurses and AHPs could contribute to making efficiency savings.

Sheffield Children's NHS Foundation Trust

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Sally Shearer

“Action plans may include goals to improve financial efficiency, and looking at what nurses and AHPs can do to help in that area such as procurement-related objective,” she said.

Safe staffing and implementing safe staffing guidance was another priority, said Ms Shearer, who highlighted that she was keen to explore the role of AHPs.

“Normally you just count the number of nurses, but on some of our wards AHPs are making a real contribution to day-to-day care and so it is looking at how we pull AHPs into safe staffing parameters,” she said. “It is good to have AHPs in the strategy for that reason.”

AHPs were not originally included in what was a nursing-only strategy, but it became a joint strategy early on in the process, after AHPs said they would be happy to work towards shared goals.

Other challenges ahead include working with local commissioners to develop integrated 0-19 health services and, under the region’s sustainability and transformation plan, looking at the future of paediatric surgery and anaesthesia across South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw.

In addition, the trust intends to work with others on plans to implement the government’s Future in Mind vision for children’s mental health.

During her trip to Sheffield, CNO Jane Cummings was due to visit the state-of-the-art Becton Centre for Children and Young People – for those aged up to 18 with mental health and learning disabilities.

The trust has also been part of a pilot with the Sheffield City Council and the local clinical commissioning group to link mental health services to schools.

It has enabled 10 schools to access advice and training with some bringing psychology support into school. This will be expanded to a further 40 schools during 2017-18.

Sheffield Children's NHS Foundation Trust

Children’s hospital launches first ever nursing strategy

Jane Cummings and the trust’s team of nurses and AHPs with the newly launched strategy

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