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A day in the life of a senior staff nurse

11 September 2017

Jo Hunter is a senior staff nurse at Spire Cardiff Hospital. Jo has been caring for our patients at Spire Cardiff Hospital for 6 years. She has a wide range of nursing experience and joined the hospital as a registered general nurse following an agency shift. As a nurse Jo has continued to develop her skills and training within the hospital and has recently been promoted to senior staff nurse.

Tell us all about a typical day in your role.

There is never really a typical day in my role and that’s part of the reason why I love my job. I work three days of 12 hour shifts, therefore, I see the patients throughout their entire day on the ward. When I am in charge of the ward, I spend the first part of my day undertaking a handover from the previous nurse. This always takes place at 7am and this is to ensure I am aware of the patients’ history, procedures they've undergone, any complications, and post-op instructions from consultant or anaesthetist. Additionally, we always discuss how the patient has been recovering through the previous 24 hour period, this is so we can discuss a planned discharge with the patient. This ensures they are discharged at a time that fits with their recovery plan and that they have everything they need at home to enable this recovery.

We have a number of early admissions and as the nurse in charge it’s important I welcome patients to ensure they are supported during this period. This is often a difficult time for patients, therefore all our staff aim to ensure our patients are fully informed and that they are well prepared for their procedure.

 At 8.15am I lead the multi-disciplinary meeting which consists of the ward coordinator or nurse in charge, physiotherapist, pre-assessment nurse, resident medical office (ward doctor) and ward receptionist. We review each patient on the ward and those that are due to come in during the day to ensure they are positioned within the ward environment according to their clinical need. We fully review patient history, the procedure and outcome, initial recovery post-operatively, any investigations that may be needed eg bloods/X-rays etc and whether there is a requirement for physiotherapy during their stay. Following this I then head back onto the ward to take care of my patients. There are many different procedures undertaken here at Spire Cardiff Hospital and every patient has different needs. Therefore, my work is varied and could include changing dressings, washing patients, monitoring drains, however, during all these activities the most important thing is that I continually  providing reassurance and support to patients.  Being in hospital is not something anyone wants to go through however, as a team we aim to make the experience as positive as we can.  Spire Healthcare has a core set of values which highlights ‘caring is our passion’, as a member of the nursing team this is the key component to delivering exceptional patient care.

It is important that we have to correct skill mix and nursing staff to look after our patients therefore, we ensure we have the adequate amount of staff to meet the individual clinical needs of each of our patients. For example, some may require our specialist paediatric nurse or be required to have post op care in our ITU or HDU unit where they would receive one-to-one care with one of our qualified ITU nurses.

Our patients are able to contact us at any time 24 hours a day 365 days of the year, myself and the team are on hand to answer any concerns they have.

What do you enjoy about your role as a senior nurse?

I really enjoy interacting with our patients here at the hospital and enhancing their patient journey. The most rewarding part of my job is seeing patients as they recover from their procedures and knowing that they have received the best care possible and will have had their lives changes for the better as a result of their time here.

My colleagues are great to work with and we have a really strong culture of knowledge sharing, we are always learning! This helps us develop and enhance the care we provide patients and ensure it is in line with the current research so that we offer patients the best possible care.

If you could spend a day in another department at Spire Cardiff Hospital, which one would it be and why?

I would really like to spend some more time in theatres. This not only reinforces the understanding of the surgical intervention patients have been through and enables me to re-evaluate my understanding of surgical procedures but also aligns the care that I deliver to patients as a result of this.

What personal values do you have that are important to your role?

Anyone who works in healthcare must be caring, empathetic to the needs of others and have that level of motivation where you want to always give 100% to your patients.

Our core behaviours within Spire Healthcare all focus towards the patients therefore, as a nurse it is positive to know that this ensures our focus as a whole hospital remains on delivering the best care possible to all our patients.

During our most recent Health Inspectorate Wales (HIW) we had a very positive audit and some fantastic comments for the HIW team including the auditors noting ‘staff delivering a high standard of care to patients in a timely way and found staff to be dedicated and committed to maintaining high standards’. It’s fantastic that Health Inspectorate Wales recognised this aspect of the care we deliver.

This gives me an enormous amount of confidence in that the care we are providing is amongst some of the best!

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I really enjoy spending my time outside, whether that’s walking dogs or taking part in activities like survival of the fittest. This year our hospital charity is the Alzheimer’s association as part of the charity fund raising, I have organised a group of the staff here at Spire Cardiff Hospital to take part in this year’s survival of the fittest event. Not only is this great team building opportunity but it’s a fabulous cause!

What advice would you give someone looking at a career in private healthcare?

There’s no doubt that the work undertaken within our hospital is varied, therefore our nurses have to have a high level of competencies to manage this type of clinical environment. This is both exciting but challenging and therefore the range of experience and knowledge required on a daily basis is always changing. A strong clinical background is a huge benefit to anyone thinking of coming into private healthcare.

And finally, what do you hope patients would say about you as a nurse and the care they have received?

For every patient I see I strive to be kind, caring and will go out of my way to ensure nothing is too much trouble. I’d like them to feel like I go above and beyond in delivering the best possible care so that they have a positive clinical experience and they feel confident in my abilities.

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