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Three-minute interview with Liz Ward who helped set up one of the UK's first Productive Wards

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Liz Ward, former nurse ward manager for Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, welcomes the national extension of the Productive Ward initiative. Here she tells NT of her experience of the scheme, and why it is important to nurses.

NT: How did you get involved with Productive Ward and how does it make a difference?

LW: Initially I was asked if I wanted to help get Productive Ward going in my old trust, which I said yes to and now I work on the initiative for the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement as a clinical facilitator. So, I am still helping to get trusts involved. I have been working on it for the last two years and it is a really good concept which has proven it makes a difference.

It improves patient outcomes and gives them an over-all improved experience of ward nursing by giving nurses simple and practical ways of improving what they do day in day out and it really empowers nurses to do that.

And, once nurses have worked through the modules, it does not stop there. It really improves their skills and will given them a really good knowledge base to take them through all of the other things they come up against on the wards.

NT: What did you look at in your trust?

LW: One of the things we looked at was meal times. We used a video and filmed nurses delivering meals. When they stood back and looked at it in a safe environment they could see straight away the fundamental problems with what they were doing and how things should change. They were really glad they had did it.

It is about allowing nurses to reflect on what they are doing and then looking at how those things can be done slightly differently, because you do not know what you are doing wrong until you see it, but once you have it is so powerful.

NT: The government has announced the scheme will roll out nationally but Strategic Health Authorities have been told they must fund this, at a cost of £5m each. Is this right?

LW: It (the funding) should not necessarily be mandatory because it could have become a tick box exercise and that is not what Productive Ward is about.
If the DH had given the money and said go out and do it, here is another target, maybe nurses would be less inclined to get involved but because the money has to be found I think it will help people want to do well at it and really take it on board.

A lot of importance over the last couple of years has been placed on frontline services, for example A&E and wards have often been forgotten but what Productive Ward means is that the focus is now back on the wards which is important because they are often the biggest part of the hospital

I think nurses will see this it as something for them and not for the frontline which ahs often taken the spotlight.

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