We have our fingers crossed for Sam Charlton and the Community Nursing Team at Royal Devon University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (RDUH), who have been shortlisted for the Primary and Community Care Innovation of the Year Category at the HSJ Awards. They will find out if they have won at the awards ceremony on 16 November 2023, and we wish them the best of luck!
The Community Nursing Team has been shortlisted for their innovation of a new community nursing bag, in partnership with CorrMed. We were delighted to support with the design, testing, and production of the new bag for community medical services, working closely with Clinical Matron, Community, Samantha Charlton.
Launched last November, the bags were designed and developed for the team at RDUH, to empower their teams and boost morale; improve efficiency, infection control and patient safety; and provide a nationally-relevant, professional solution for other community nursing teams across the country. It is this innovation, and the significant measurable impact that the bags have had on quality nursing, that is being recognised by the HSJ awards.
Community Nurses have a role which takes them from patient home to patient home, and requires them to carry a wide variety of different equipment, in order to provide comprehensive patient care. Their role can include anything from prescriptions to wound dressing, baseline observations to blood investigations and medication administration, each with their own kit. Historically, transportation of this equipment was via tupperware boxes, tool kits, and sometimes carrier bags and cardboard boxes, in order to ensure they had appropriate and sufficient stock for every patient. It made stock management challenging, did not always present a professional image, and meant that staff car boots were untidy and full to the brim. Sam was concerned that this approach did not reflect the professional service that the community nurses provide every single day.
In response, CorrMed worked with RDUH Community Nurses to understand their roles and responsibilities, their changing daily needs, and the breadth of equipment that they need access to. Working with two registered nurses from the team we developed a pilot prototype, creating a versatile and effective bag design for the whole team. The finalised bag was compact, versatile, and had an effective design for daily changing equipment, at the same time enhancing patient safety through improved infection control features too. It has simplified the nurses role, made their equipment more transportable, and importantly improved the safety and tidiness of their car boot.
Following roll-out of the bags, 80% of nurses stated that they now have the correct level of equipment with them compared to (44% previously), demonstrating the increase in service efficiency, and supporting nurses to spend additional time with patients. 100% of the nurses stated that they can find the equipment that they need quickly compared to (39% previously). What's more, the bags are proving nationally-relevant, with teams making the switch at other NHS Trusts, across a wide range of Community teams including Hospital at Home, Children’s Community Nursing, Podiatry, Tissue Viability and many more.
Samantha Charlton, Clinical Matron, Community, RDUH comments "Community Nursing (CN) is an unpredictable and ever-changing service. With the drive to reduce hospital admissions, improve lives and deliver care needs closer to home, it is imperative that the CN service has the support and tools that they need. Transporting equipment safely, in an organised manner, has long been a challenge. The team and I at RDUH have overcome this with the development of a new community nurse bag."
She continues "Working with leading bag designer and manufacturer CorrMed, the Trust used their experience and expertise to design and quality test the new Community Nurse bag. The efficiencies we will get from a more organised stock transport system will be a huge benefit, reducing unnecessary ‘return to base’ travel, reducing stock wastage and improving time efficiency as the relevant supplies are easy to find. This helps staff feel heard and appreciated and addresses the professional edge we want to project."
She concludes "It is clear the bags have been designed by community nursing teams and specialist medical bag designers as they show innovation, quality, and flexibility to adjust to the needs of teams working closer to home in the community. The bag also addresses manual handling, and health and safety at work will be greatly improved with the CorrMed kneeling mat as well as the lightweight nature to the bags with flexible carrying options."
The HSJ Awards, recognise outstanding contributions to healthcare. This year a ‘record-breaking’ 1456 entries were received across the categories, with 223 projects and individuals reaching the final shortlist. We are delighted that RDUH, and a CorrMed Medical Bag are one of the shortlisted projects. The selected winners will be announced during the awards ceremony at Evolution London on November 16th 2023.