Back to the Floor - Leyland Ward
I arrived at Leyland Ward to do a morning shift - for those of you who don't know, it is a mixed male/female orthopaedic surgical ward at Chorley and South Ribble Hospital. The ward is pretty spacious, very bright and clean and on the day I was there it was actually very quiet! Not because they weren't busy, but because they were; their beds were full and everyone was really focused on looking after patients. It was quiet in as much as it was calm, ordered, very little noise and everyone knew what needed to be done and simply got on with it. I thought it was quite remarkable and on reflection how much confidence patients must have in seeing ward staff quietly, and efficiently, simply making it all happen - no panic, no fuss. The most noise came from a number of patients socialising, encouraging each other and generally putting the world to rights! Great to see!
These days I'm getting pretty good at making beds and washing patients so those were my first duties of the day ...my first impressions that the ward was very spacious rapidly disappeared! By the time you've pulled the curtains round the bed, bedside locker, bedside table, zimmer frame, walking sticks, patients luggage, patients armchair .....there's not much room for the actual patient let alone the staff undertaking their duties! Some patients had special mattresses and that added yet more stuff, cables, power packs and suchlike. You've got to be jolly flexible to get round all of that and wash the patient. I think being double-jointed could be a significant advantage; unfortunately I'm not!
There was a funny moment that I'm sure Sister Anne won't mind me sharing ....one of our patients had become more mobile and asked us if we could remove the special inflatable mattress and replace it with a standard one. So together we stripped the bed and unplugged the mattress from the socket and proceeded to stand at both ends of the bed to deflate it. It was very hard work - no matter how much we squished, pushed, rolled and pummelled, the mattress simply refused to budge - till Gillian the healthcare support worker strolled over, looked at us both, appeared to shake her head sadly, and nonchalantly pulled out the stopper, at which point the mattress immediately deflated and we silently rolled it up. As you would expect we made plenty of excuses! Anne has been with us now for six months and in her previous hospital she used to be the productive ward lead with a big role in leading the enhanced recovery programme. Interestingly our Locum Consultant Richard Boden had worked with Anne before and it was clear that they were on the same wave-length in terms of caring for our patients. I'm looking forward to her bringing her ideas (believe me she has lots!) knowledge and experience to benefit our patients. Richard promised that he would come to one of our Board meetings ....and he did! Did you know that anyone can come to Part One of our Board meetings? Well you can and everyone is welcome! Richard spoke to me after the Board meeting and said how good it was to hear the whole Board talking about patients, quality, safety and experience. It would be nice to see other members of our hospital attend as well and you can get all the future dates and venues from the website or from Rebecca Chapman x2205.
The junior doctor on the ward who should have gone off duty at 8am was still there at 11am because her colleague who should have taken over was detained at Royal Preston Hospital. I spoke to her a couple of times to ask if she was tired and was there anything we could do to help; she was very pragmatic and like her colleagues on the ward just got on with looking after patients. There was a really lovely warm and friendly atmosphere between the multidisciplinary team and it was great to see the relationships between physiotherapists, volunteers, porters, nurses and doctors. I spent some time taking to Gerry the volunteer who has worked on that ward for many years, and whose wife Sheila is also a volunteer in the RVS shop. Some of his suggestions for improvement are listed below. Our volunteers are truly worth their weight in gold by adding those extra kind touches to staff as well as patients - plus Gerry carries a mean bag of sweets which for me came at precisely the right moment as my sugar levels started to flag!
So what did I learn from my time with the staff on Leyland ward? Well first of all they work extremely hard and appear to take everything in their stride. They are a great example of multidisciplinary team work in action. The emergency buzzers went off twice and within seconds all the right people were around the bedside, professional, calm and collected (unlike me hopping from foot to foot and wondering if I could be any use whatsoever in the circumstances!) Every patient I spoke to, without prompting, said how fantastic the care was and how wonderful the staff were. They were genuine heartfelt words from patients who wanted to recognise the tremendous efforts of a great team. For my part they made me feel so welcome and a part of the team. They are a credit to our hospitals and I am both grateful and proud that they chose to care here at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals.
To everyone on duty that morning - a sincere thank you for being so kind and welcoming to me.