Monday, 15 March 2010

This Is No Way To Deal With Undermanning In The NHS…

Nurses at Basildon Hospital have come up with a way of improving safety and warding off constant interruptions when handing out medication to patients.

Staff across Basildon and Thurrock Hospitals are now wearing distinctive red aprons when preparing and administering pills.

It is hoped when a nurse is wearing a red apron, fellow colleagues, patients and visitors will think ‘can it wait?’ before interrupting.
Great! Now they just need to fend off colleagues, patients and visitors asking them ‘Hey, why are you wearing that red apron?’
Jerusha Murdoch-Kelly, clinical practice facilitator at the hospital, said: “Just from our own experiences, we knew interruptions are frequent during drug rounds and even a momentary break in concentration can lead to mistakes being made.

“It is much safer if you can concentrate on the task in hand and not have to turn your attention to anything else.”
Well, yes, I’m sure it is.

But life isn’t like that, and if this task is so critical that nurses can’t do it AND deal with patients, perhaps the time has come to look at your staffing levels? Or perhaps look to do the actual dispensing somewhere else, and hand out the pre-dispensed medication?

Or are they worried they’d then get the names wrong?
Out of three wards looked at, one ward lost 117 minutes in valuable time due to interruptions, another lost 82 minutes and the third lost 43 minutes…
I’d like to know why they started with the conclusion that the time spent with medications is ‘valuable time’ while the time spent dealing with patients and visitors isn’t ‘valuable time’…
Miss Murdoch-Kelly said: “Most of the interruptions were from telephone calls and other members of staff, although patients and visitor queries were also a factor.”
Those bloody colleagues, patients and visitors, eh? How dare they believe that nurses are there to multi-task, like, say everyone else in the world….


Chuckles said...

'Underpersoning' surely? You'll have the harperson after you in a trice.

'It'd be a great job if it weren't for the customers' and 'Couldn't chew gum and think at the same time' are phrases that spring to mind?

Joe Public said...

They could always employ extra staff to answer the phone & deal with queries.

JuliaM said...

"'It'd be a great job if it weren't for the customers' and 'Couldn't chew gum and think at the same time' are phrases that spring to mind?"


Fat Hen said...

Actually, this is not such a bad idea in principle. Besides that, medication should be taken on time, so holding up the nurse handing out the drugs is a no-no.

Maybe the nurses read Hillbilly Housewife's site?