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20 October 2020

Sheffield Hospitals nursing team’s response to COVID-19 recognised in top awards

Nurses from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have been shortlisted in the Nursing Times Workforce Awards in recognition of the responsive, high quality care they provided to patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The team is in contention for the ‘Workforce Team of the Year’ title. As well as adapting services to offer care to those patients who were waiting for or recovering from surgery, who might otherwise have been vulnerable to COVID-19, they also provided care for patients from multiple specialties to ensure that they continued to be nursed in a safe and suitable environment.

Changes made by the Surgical Services nursing team included reconfiguring the Theatre Assessment Unit into a Surgical Assessment Centre and a rapid access clinic for patients who had a confirmed or probable surgical condition. They also converted the existing 31-bedded Surgical Assessment Centre into a care of the elderly ward for patients with confirmed COVID-19.

Staff health and well-being remained a top priority, with the establishment of ‘CALM’ rooms, What’s App groups, daily safety huddles and use of existing systems such as a ‘5 in 5’ change forum to communicate key messages of brief headlines in five minutes. Training was also given in the use of ipads so staff could help patient’s loved ones talk to patients during limited visiting.

Jo Marsden, Nurse Director for Surgical Services at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I am ecstatic and so very proud that the Surgical Services’ nursing teams have been nationally recognised for their work in response to COVID-19. The team responded so well to the changes and in such a short period of time, working creatively and dynamically to respond to patient need.”

Peter Thompson, 73, of Burncross, who received care during this time, thanked the team for going above and beyond:

“I was losing weight and increasingly fatigued from a long term health condition as COVID-19 started to take a grip on the country. I was referred to one of the surgeons who felt that a major abdominal operation was a possible solution but due to my poor nutritional health with low protein, status of disease and uncertainty of surgical outcomes with COVID-19, another option was explored.”

As a result Peter was asked to attend the Theatre Assessment Unit as a day case patient to have intravenous feeding four times a week. The day case establishment of feeding in the vein was the first time it had been performed at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and was only possible due to the team’s endeavours. This resulted in a significant improvement of his symptoms. He now receives intravenous feeding at home, has avoided major surgery and has a significant improvement in his quality of life.

“Being in the hospital at the height of the pandemic was daunting, but the care has been outstanding. Nothing has been too much trouble even to the extent that I was looked after in a ‘quiet’ ward. Thanks to the team my symptoms have improved since the first day of treatment. They are a credit to the NHS.”

The winners will be announced on Wednesday 2 December.


Photos: The surgical services team outside the Northern General Hospital and Peter Thompson, one of the many patients the team helped during the pandemic.

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