Date of release: 22 February 2021
As regular readers of my blog you will be aware I love to share positive stories about our staff, especially when it comes to winning awards. Congratulations then to our colleague Maria Tan, whose team won a national award and she herself has been nominated for a nurse of the year honour.
Maria, an Advanced Clinical Practitioner in Gastroenterology based at Cannock Chase Hospital, has led her staff – Rosemarie Peralta, Rhodora Bloomfield, Olitha Dougall, Justine Hammond and Cindy Puccio – to the British Society of Gastroenterology’s Clinical Services and Standards Committee (BSG-CSSC) Service Development Prize 2020.
Their award entry, which was titled: ‘A Nurse-Led Day-Case Gastroenterology Service in the Emergency Department (ED)’, involved repurposing space within the ED, to help cater for patients requiring urgent paracentesis.
The team was nominated for the award by Dr. Shyam Menon, Gastroenterology Consultant, which explored how to improve existing services that couldn’t cater for patients with severe ascites requiring paracentesis. Severe ascites is fluid causing abdominal swelling and paracentesis is a procedure where a thin needle or tube removes that fluid.
The introduction of an innovative nurse-led service, spearheaded by Maria and her team, enabled admission avoidance, early treatment and follow up. In addition, relocating the service to Cannock Chase Hospital ensured highly vulnerable and immuno-compromised patients requiring the gastroenterology services were diverted to the day-case unit. There, they received appropriate treatment without the risk of cross-infection during the pandemic at the acute hospital site.
This new service changed the practice completely, with upskilling of nursing staff creating a truly integrated service between nurses and doctors. In addition, effective foresight and leadership meant the staff were empowered with greater training opportunities which supported recruitment and retention. The training allowed them to deliver ultrasound-guided paracentesis for inpatients with abnormal intra-abdominal fluid, thereby reducing delays in waiting for interventional radiology-assisted paracentesis. This in turn minimised radiology referrals and hospital admissions, as gastroenterology nurses could perform the procedures in dedicated, ED day-case setting. During this period, ED teams have been able to divert patients to the service for same-day urgent management.
The flexibility of the service meant patients could choose their date and time to have their appointments. The service is seen as innovative and regarded as a model of excellence by other trusts and organisations in other countries.
As a result of her team’s achievement, Maria herself has been nominated for the British Journal of Nursing (BJN) Gastrointestinal/IBD Nurse of the Year award for developing the service.
She will find out if she has won at a virtual ceremony on the evening of Monday, March 8th. Maria is planning to watch he event on the BJN website via a stream with her husband – a porter at RWT – and their three children, aged 14, 12 and nine.
Maria, who arrived from the Philippines in 2003 as a staff nurse, is a source of inspiration for all nurses and doctors at RWT. She is also no stranger to national recognition. In 2018 she and her team secured a HSJ award for a day-case service, an initiative for which she has published. Well done, Maria!