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Hospital trust introduces matron role for bank staff

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A new matron specifically for bank staff has boosted recruitment and retention and helped improve training and performance, according to senior nurses at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust.

The new role was created amid a merger of the trust’s e-rostering and in-house bank teams, said the trust’s deputy chief nurse Joann Morse.

“What was quite stark for me was there wasn’t any professional input so we agreed we needed someone in there at matron level to do work around appraisals, mandatory training and dealing with performance issues, which do occasionally come up,” she told Nursing Times.

“It is about making sure all staff feel confident and valued”

Joann Morse

They recruited Mary Shimwell, who was already working at the trust as a matron in acute medicine, to the new band 8a Matron for Professional Standards role.

She has been in post since the start of December but has already made a big difference including clamping down on last-minute cancellation of shifts, said Ms Morse.

“We listened to what matrons from our operational areas were saying and their frustration about staff who simply don’t turn up,” she said.

“Mary is able to get onto those cases very quickly,” she said. “It’s about saying we will monitor this and if it continues then we will just remove you from the bank.”

The role provides a single point of contact for matrons and wards managers who have any concerns about bank staff, including competence issues.

“They have got someone they trust who has clinical credibility and she has already done a couple of investigations where issues of competence have been flagged,” said Ms Morse.

University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust

Hospital trust introduces matron role for bank staff

Joann Morse

“On top of that, what she has brought to the admin team is a sense of reality and the importance of what they do – it has a real impact on patient care if we don’t get the right staffing,” she noted.

Ultimately the role was about ensuring temporary staff felt valued and their needs and aspirations were taken seriously, said Ms Morse, adding that the post had sparked interest from other trusts.

“It is about making sure all staff feel confident and valued,” she added. “It’s also about having an eye to the next five or 10 years.

“People join the bank for various reasons,” she said. “For some, it is because of family situations where they have got elderly relatives they are caring for or have a young family and so need flexibility around shifts.

She added: “If we value and look after them as temporary staff, then hopefully they will eventually become permanent members of staff.”

Ms Morse said Ms Shimwell was able to flag up job opportunities within the trust to bank staff and part of her role was ensuring workers received appraisals where they could discuss their goals.

“Hopefully bank nurses will eventually become permanent members of staff”

Joann Morse

Her role also included ensuring bank staff had undertaken mandatory training and supporting healthcare assistants to complete the Care Certificate.

Crucially, the trust said Ms Shimwell has already successfully recruited an extra 10 registered nurses to the bank and encouraged nurses thinking of leaving to stay on by helping them through revalidation.

In addition, she acted as a “bridge” between the trust and staffing agencies, doing work around the agency cap and swiftly resolving issues around the hiring or performance of agency workers.

In this capacity, she had identified some instances of “not best practice” and had “frank discussions” with agency managers, said Ms Morse.

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