The Wizard of Oz is one of my favourite films.
And it occurs to me that nurses possess all three of the things that Dorothy’s companions seek in the Emerald City - a heart, a brain and courage. (They also probably feel like there’s no place like home at the end of a shift). But many people continue to think having a brain is a dangerous asset for a nurse.
Last week, I got to see just how important intelligence is to nursing on a visit to Kent and Canterbury Hospital. I was impressed by the nursing team’s creativity in improving quality and safety. One theatre nurse has become the country’s only nurse patient-side assistant - a role usually carried out by a registrar. It involves her being the eyes and ears of the surgeon as he operates remotely using a Da Vinci robot. Other nurses overhauled their stroke unit by introducing their own version of intentional rounding, patient groups and nutrition strategies.
Deputy chief nurse Steve Hams, who invited me to visit, said the hospital also runs quarterly “After Dragons’ Den” sessions, where he, the financial director and associate medical director interview staff who have an innovative idea. Staff are grilled about the return on investment and sustainability of the idea - but if it passes muster, the FD can sign off up to £50k of investment on the spot, with bigger investments being passed for further approval.
Nurses are challenging traditional roles, saving money and enhancing outcomes, and it is their brains and hearts that are needed to achieve this. If I was unwell, I wouldn’t want a tin hand holding mine at the bedside, but I also wouldn’t want someone with straw for brains doing my observations either. We shouldn’t need to debate it. Nurses need both compassion and intelligence - and the courage to argue their merits.
See the full-length account of my visit at nursingtimes.net/jenniblog
Follow me on Twitter @nursingtimesed
GUEST EDITOR DIRECT
Mark Radcliffe is taking over a guest spot live on nursingtimes.net at 1pm on Wednesday. Join him and other nurses to discuss the value of emotional intelligence.