Intentional ward rounds must be carried out hourly and more paperwork should be done by the bedside, according to one of the leads of the prime minister’s nursing forum.
Salford Royal Foundation Trust nursing director Elaine Inglesby is leading the “time to care” workstream of the Nursing and Care Quality Forum.
It will focus on looking at ways of “ensuring nurses have enough time to give quality care” and will include implementation of intentional nurse rounding and identifying paperwork that should not be carried out by nurses.
She told Nursing Times that, while some teams already carried out ward rounds, they did not always follow best practice. She said rounding must be done hourly during the day and every two hours at night, unless patients required more regular visits.
But she said her main aim was to change the nature of rounding in order to improve communication, dignity and compassion.
She said: “We don’t want nurses to be saying, ‘we have been doing this for years’. Implementing intentional rounding – if you are not doing it with the right values and beliefs – is just ticking a box. It has to be about dignity and respect.”
In addition, Ms Inglesby said she would try to identify what paperwork needed to be done by nurses, what could be done by someone else and what did not need to be done at all.
She said she would also be reviewing handover practice and encouraging less use of single, large ward nursing stations – in favour of completing paperwork in bays.
One concern she said the forum would seek to address was a lack of ward clerks. She said admin support was often unavailable much of the time nurses were working, such as weekends, and there were reports of admin posts being cut.
The forum has three other workstreams covering leadership, culture and values, and patient involvement.
Speaking to Nursing Times earlier this month, health secretary Andrew Lansley said he wanted nurses to feel they “owned” the forum and hoped they would not be cynical about it.
Forum member Janet Davies, executive director of the Royal College of Nursing, said her priority was to make the forum did not just lead to “initiatives and tickbox exercises that will create more work”.
Ms Davies also said the work should look at nursing resources. She said it was “difficult” for a government-commissioner review, but said: “None of this can happen if the resources aren’t there. We can only [improve] if we have the right people in the right place at the right time.”