I am a Ward Sister for Derbyshire’s Bolsover Hospital. After qualifying as a Nurse almost three years ago, I chose to work in a community hospital because I felt that this is where I could make the biggest difference. I knew that I wanted to connect with people and support them on a level beyond administering medication and to have the time to get to know them as an individual which can be more difficult in acute hospitals. I knew that I wanted to work with a team that were motivated and that valued each other because they were able to take pride in the work that they do. I am very fortunate that I have found this at Bolsover.
We are a community hospital. That means we are run differently to a mainstream or acute hospital and it also means that we regularly see a different kind of patient and care for them in a different way. We help rehabilitate people so that they are well enough to leave hospital and live life the way they want to live it. We often get people who have been in an acute hospital but who are not yet ready to go home staying with us. I’ve seen a big increase in older people, people with mental health problems and people with dementia in recent times. This is not only due to an aging population but to a growing appreciation that people sometimes need to be cared for in a different way to that offered in an acute hospital. We are in the perfect position to help people get access to the support they need before going back home, to help assess their personal needs and provide care that allows for practices to be tailored to them for their needs to be met. It is about person centred care that does not make the patients fit into the hospitals routines; rather it makes the hospital appreciate their routines. A holistic approach to care delivery that is driven by patients and their loved ones.
For a long time now I have been wanting and asking for a tool that could help us capture important information about our patients and support them as an individual in an easy to use format. When I found the work of Helen Sanderson Associates on the SCIE website I tweeted Helen and low and behold got a response straight back. To be honest I wasn’t expecting one but I was very happy when it happened. I’ve since learned so much more about one-page profiles, how they work, what they can achieve and the practicalities of putting them into practice in hospitals. Helen recently made a pledge on the NHSChangeDay website to introduce one-page profiles for 1000 staff and patients in the NHS. I would LOVE to see this happen.
Can you imagine what a difference it would make? I know my excitement and my passion for patient focused nursing can sometimes mean that I am running ideas through at 100 miles an hour but I have stopped and thought in detail about how this could actually work and it is a win win for everyone. Patients coming onto the ward could have one-page profiles that help us identify what is important to them and therefore how best to support them in this. How can we nurse someone back to health if we don’t know what ‘being healthy’ looks like for them? Are they a dog walker, an avid cook or gardener? How much time would we save from sifting through information, trying to determine the support needs of a patient, if all we would have to do is look at a single sheet of paper? Think about how we could respond during a handover when the staff nurse tells us that Mary in bed 3b is ‘out of sorts’. We would actually know what it meant for Mary to be ‘in sorts’ and therefore what we should be doing to support her today.
In turn I would love to see staff have one-page profiles so that we could understand each other better but also so we could introduce ourselves properly to patients. Imagine if patients were able to learn a little bit more about the person caring for them. How much more connected would they feel? What could it do for their health and wellbeing? When I think about the barriers it would break down and how it could help improve communication and relationships, I know that this is something that I want to see happen.
“They all look the same in blue” this is something I hear regularly from patients and visitors throughout healthcare and this is what I want to change. I want us to be people, treating and caring for people. This is what I believe being patient-centred is. And this is what one-page profiles can help us to achieve.