Medway Maritime Hospital has this week revealed further evidence of the significant progress that is being made as part of its plan to improve the hospital for the people of Kent & Medway.
The Emergency Department has achieved a substantial reduction in its nursing vacancy rate in the space of just eight months. The vacancy rate stood at 65 per cent last November, yet now stands in the region of 24 per cent. This is ahead of the department’s target, which aims to achieve a vacancy rate of 10 per cent by the end of October.
With many NHS Trusts currently struggling to fill nursing posts, the new Emergency Department senior team carried out a root and branch review to identify the following: how can they recruit nursing professionals interested in an exciting career within emergency nursing, and most importantly, how can they retain them and their existing staff.
Medway Maritime Hospital is now offering newly-qualified nurses the chance to not only ply their trade in one of Kent’s most challenging and rapidly improving emergency departments, but also the opportunity to develop their skills to become a specialist in emergency nursing.
As part of the new recruitment and retention programme, newly-qualified nurses straight out of university will begin an 18-month preceptorship programme within the Emergency Department, designed to offer essential grounding and experience in emergency nursing.
At the end of this period, nurses who wish to pursue a career and obtain a professional qualification in emergency nursing will have the option to enrol on either an undergraduate BSc or postgraduate MSc in Evidence-Based Emergency Nursing.
Cliff Evans, Consultant Nurse (Emergency Care) at Medway Maritime Hospital said: “We’re really excited by the progress we’ve seen in the last eight months and the profound impact this has had on staff morale. “We now have a strategy in place that not only places a huge emphasis on recruiting staff, but also focuses on retaining and educating nursing professionals once we get them through the front door.
“We can only achieve this by applying the right balance of career progression and further education. That’s exactly what we have been doing since last September and it is starting to pay dividends. The introduction of the new postgraduate courses will prove invaluable in retaining those staff, who under previous circumstances, might have perhaps started to look elsewhere.”
There is significant evidence that well-trained and motivated nursing staff provide increasingly effective care, resulting in patients recovering faster, and returning home quicker. There has already been a marked reduction in the Trust’s historic mortality rate, with this set to continue.