Swansea hospital staff are hoping to make more minutes in the day for their patients by changing the way they work and removing hindrances such as that in which one nurse recently had 54 interruptions in one hour.
Two wards at Morriston Hospital are piloting a project which aims to help clinical staff spend more time with their patients, improve patient safety and experience, staff well-being and general efficiency of the workplace. The key will be to identify the everyday aspects of work that hinder more time being spent on care. Similar initiatives run by the NHS in England have shown that the percentage of nursing time on average spent directly on patient care is around 40%. However, after the RTTC scheme (Releasing Time To Care) the average is around 52%. On a ward of 20 Whole Time Equivalent (WTE) nursing staff, this adds up to having six extra full time nurses working on the ward. Anglesey Ward and Ward G at Morriston have just begun work on their RTTC projects and some interesting results have already been found. While the staff on Ward G already spend an average of 62.9% of their time directly with patients - significantly higher than average â€“ they found that during one 11 hour period the nursing team had to deal with 275 interruptions during the course of their work. One nurse had 54 interruptions in one hour. â€œThe staff on Ward G care for patients with a lot of care needs but, although they score well on direct contact, the figures for interruptions to their work are striking,â€ said ABMâ€™s Director of Nursing, Victoria Franklin. â€œThey may only be short interruptions but they are having a significant impact on these staff and we need to make sure we put practices in place to stop it happening.â€ Already the ward staff are working on improvements such as better storage systems, at a glance boards with key information for visitors and estates improvements. They have even filmed ward rounds so they can look in detail at how the team works together and what they can improve. The RTTC is a 20 week project that is being supported by the National Leadership and Innovative Agency for Heathcare (NLIAH), and a dedicated consultant has been assigned to help with the 20-week project.
If successful, it will be rolled out across the Health Board. Victoria Franklin said: â€œWe think this is a fantastic initiative which allows nurses and ward staff to do what they do best, care for patients. â€œAlready it has been embraced with a lot of enthusiasm. As well as the patient benefits we hope it will make for a better working and improve communication between departments.â€