10 people attended the meeting. We welcomed our guest speaker, Jamie Martin, who told us about his previous role as permanent Co-ordinating Charge Nurse (CCN and his new role as Patient Co-ordinator in the Royal Edinburgh Hospital.
Senior Charge Nurses and Charge Nurses CCNs work in pairs, one from adult services and one from older people’s services, share the CCN role on a rota basis. The intensity of the role has changed, managing the hospital site and wards, ensuring there are enough nurses to respond to clinical needs. They are also now responsible for bed management, responding to last-minute staff absences and increased clinical activity – this can be very stressful and time-consuming because bed numbers have been reduced to 90, a bare minimum. And they respond to problems such as heating, power, all sorts of issues, acting as a conduit to get problems solved.
As Patient Co-ordinator, Jamie works out how best to use the available beds to meet patient need. This new role should have an impact on patient flow. Is hospital the best service to meet the person’s needs or would other services prove to be more beneficial? Would more rehab beds lead to faster throughput? There are not enough third sector places for people to move on to when they are ready.
Other systems are in place to improve the use of available resources: rapid rundown on wards first thing in the morning, then bed huddles to get a snapshot of bed capacity, then multi-disciplinary touchdown at 12 noon, including health and social care locality managers, to ensure people get timely care. Lots of people are “poking at the problems”, including the Patients Council’s new Patient Experience Development Worker who will be asking patients if their hospital stay worked for them. We asked about support for staff, such as reflective practice, and the need for structure to support nurses to provide a uniform level of care so they can develop good relationships with patients.