SoR member’s communication plan brings teams closer together

Published: 17 August 2016 Ezine

Christine Charlton, a clinical imaging support worker from Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, has had her plans for a new communication strategy backed by the trust’s chief executive officer.

Christine’s plan links together hospital wards and radiology and was picked as part of the trust’s Pioneer Teams Programme. The programme invites members of staff to pitch an idea to the executive team and if, successful, it is trialled in the hospital with mentoring from a sponsor.

Christine explains the inspiration behind her idea: “I have been at the trust for 20 years and I’ve worked in quite a few different roles. There’s always been this thing where everybody assumes they know what everyone else is doing, when they don’t necessarily.

“There are already link nurses for different things in the trust, such as for infection control and tissue viability, where a rep on the ward or department goes for training every few months and then comes back and disseminates that information to the rest of the ward.

“So when the Pioneer Programme came up, I thought, ‘why don’t we do something like this in radiology?’”

Christine organised a dedicated day, through a mixture of notices in the trust newsletter and promotion on the trust intranet, to invite staff to visit the radiology department.

Speakers from MRI, CT, ultrasound and interventional radiology delivered presentations to attendees, including nurses, auxiliaries, senior nurses and advanced practitioners from accident and emergency.

The purpose of the day was to broaden understanding of the nuances of radiology and open up lines of communication between different parts of the hospital.

Christine continues: “In MRI we need the patients to have really good pain relief because the scans are a lot longer than CT for instance.And on the flip side, CT would send for in-patients at 8:30 in the morning, but to try and get a patient in the ward cannulated at 8:30 when the junior doctors change over at 9 is nigh on impossible, so changing something minor like that is better for them and better for us as well. They’re small changes but can make a big difference to staff and patients.”

As well as the presentations, attendees were also sent away with a folder of relevant information, so staff members can access it any time. Attendees were asked to complete a pre-questionnaire to gauge their understanding, and then one after to see how much they had learned. Christine says the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

Some of the comments received included: ‘Every member of staff should do this training’ and ‘I didn’t know what to expect but this went way above my expectations’.

Christine has already made plans for a follow-up session to take place in November, with staff from around the hospital expressing interest in taking part.

“It ended up being a lot bigger than I first thought, you have a little idea and think ‘oh that will be alright’, but it was a lot of hard work and very difficult, but I’m so glad I did it,” concluded Christine.

Chris Long, CEO at Hull and East Yorkshire NHS Trust, said: “This was a fantastic initiative, which will bring huge benefits to our patients.

"It is a great example of my belief that if we empower our frontline staff they can achieve anything. I was very proud to be able to support Christine in bringing her ideas into practice.”