The NHS Next Stage Review, published in June, emphasised the need for ‘personalised, dignified and compassionate’ healthcare.
All nurses play a key role in this but improving care requires strong leadership from senior nurses, delegates at the RCN Quality Improvement Network (QIN) conference in London heard last week.
‘The key to patient-centred care is the culture in which it is delivered,’ said Mary Kenyon, the college’s QIN chairperson.
‘Ward managers and team leaders are particularly important in helping nurses strengthen existing mechanisms of delivery and raise awareness of good practice,’ she added.
Initial findings from a programme to support ward managers in delivering patient-centred care are due next month, delegates also heard.
The Point of Care programme, funded by the King’s Fund, aims to bring about the ‘changes in culture and management needed’ to improve the care experience, starting with the acute sector.
The first phases of the programme, scheduled to run until 2013, have attempted to analyse methods to improve patient experience and support staff, both as individuals and as teams.
Jocelyn Cornwell, the programme’s director, said: ‘The reality of modern hospitals is they are like large factories. How is it possible for staff to have more than fleeting relationships with patients in this industrial context? This is a problem to which we want to find answers.’
Delegates also heard that nurses in Northern Ireland have developed a practice-based tool for delivering patient-centred care, due to be piloted in Belfast Health and Social Care Trust this year.
NT understands that more details on the government’s planned ‘metrics’ – indicators for the NHS quality of care, including specific ones for nurses outlined in the next stage review – are expected to be published this month.