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Nottingham Hospitals bucks national nursing trends

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust has been shortlisted in the Best Employer for Staff Recognition category, in this year’s Nursing Times Workforce Awards.

The awards recognise innovative programmes to attract, retain and develop nurses in a health and care setting. In the UK, there’s a predicted shortfall of 108,000 nurses, according to a recent report by the King’s Fund think tank on NHS vacancies. Efforts by nursing and midwifery teams at NUH to attract talent and retain staff has seen the Trust buck the national trend, with a turnover rate of just 10.5% for registered nurses, ahead of the national average for nursing retention, and a 2% reduction in the number of vacancies in 2018-19 (against 2017-18).

NUH’s shortlisted entry highlighted the innovative culture-change initiatives that have been introduced by the Trust, in an effort to engage and develop nursing and midwifery staff, and promote professional pride. Efforts to provide and evidence world-class care have seen NUH recognised as Outstanding for Caring in their most recent CQC inspection.

NUH is on a journey to becoming ANCC Magnet® accredited, an international marker of nursing excellence. The ambition is to become one of the first UK hospitals to be Magnet® accredited, placing NUH as a national and international beacon for standards of nursing care. NUH’s accreditation documentation is due to be submitted this October, and is the culmination of over eight years of efforts to promote and evidence outstanding care practices at the Trust. NUH’s Magnet® journey has been made possible through a joint three-year partnership with Nottingham Hospitals Charity, whose significant funding reflects the national impact Magnet® accreditation will have.

As part of this journey, NUH has introduced a number of new initiatives to recognise and celebrate their nursing and midwifery staff. In 2017 a monthly DAISY Award was launched to recognise nurses and midwives who have gone above and beyond in their duties to provide care excellence. The awards are voted for by patients, and are presented in a surprise ceremony hosted by NUH’s Chief Nurse, Mandie Sunderland. NUH also holds an annual Nurse and Midwife of the Year Award, supported by the Nottingham Post and Nottingham Express Transit (NET).

Recognition is just one strand of NUH’s strategy to retain nurses and midwives, and promote world-class care. NUH has one of the most advanced Shared Governance programmes in the UK, a leadership model which places decision-making power into the hands of frontline staff, which was developed after engagement with over 2,500 staff nurses and Operating Department Practitioners (ODPs).

Wards and departments are supported to create their own councils, who feed into senior leadership, including the Chief Nurse on a monthly basis. NUH has more than 80 Shared Governance councils, involving colleagues from across the organisation, and has hosted national showcase events to share this learning with other Trusts across the UK.

NUH has also focussed on developing nurses and promoting research-led practice, led by 16 post-doctoral nurses and midwives, and eight currently undertaking doctoral training. This work also includes the introduction of the Chief Nurse Excellence in Care Fellowship Programme, established in 2016.

The Programme offers competitive scholarships which give nurses and ODPs one day out of direct patient contact to focus on personal development and project plans, supported by academic and clinical mentors.

The Programme has led to the development of a number of innovative projects: influencing pathway redesign, reviewing patient experience, and looking at the transition of care between services. These improvements are informed by robust evidence-based research, led by staff that have an in-depth knowledge of their working area.

Since 2016 22 fellows have completed the Programme, with many of the projects receiving national attention as articles in peer-reviewed academic journals, and have been awarded national Patient Experience Awards (PENNA). The Programme has also been adopted nationally by other NHS organisations.

Professor Joanne Cooper, Assistant Director of Nursing at NUH, said: “We’re immensely proud of the effect that this commitment to culture change and staff recognition is having on our nurses and midwives across Team NUH. Our recruitment and retention data shows that empowering and developing our staff makes them feel valued and makes them more likely to remain and progress at NUH, which plays a significant role in enabling us to provide world-class care for our patients.”

The Nursing Times Workforce Awards will be held on Wednesday 25 September at The Brewery, London.