A&E complaints drop in Belfast after nurse leadership training

Belfast NHS Trust launched the Deputy Sister Charge Nurse Development programme to develop the skills of budding nurse leaders and as part of efforts to improve patients’ experiences of A&E.

“Through this experience I believe I am more forward thinking and participative”

Joanna Sloan

In all, 15 newly-appointed senior nurses from the Royal Victoria Hospital and Mater Infirmorum embarked on the six-month programme.

Key elements included leadership, managing in a practice setting, clinical excellence and service improvement, as well as personal development.

According to the trust, the scheme provided the participants “with an understanding of the need to transform services with better patient outcomes at its heart”.

“In turn, this has created a culture of safety within our teams and gives staff the knowledge and empowerment to continually improve care,” said the Northern Irish provider.

Brenda Creaney, director of nursing and user experience at the trust, who contributed to the programme, said nurses who took part were keen to learn.

“They were all incredibly inspirational and interested, not only in their new role, but in the opportunity to learn from peers and colleagues alike,” she said.

“It was a pleasure to share my leadership journey and my learning to date and I have every confidence in these wonderful new leaders as excellent role models,” she added.

Brenda Creaney

Brenda Creaney

Brenda Creaney

Joanna Sloan, a deputy sister in the Royal Victoria’s emergency department, was one of the nurses who took part and said she valued the opportunity to explore her leadership capabilities

“I thought I would have had a more authoritative approach but through this experience I believe I am more forward thinking and participative,” she said.

“I have increased self-awareness as a role model,” she said. “My actions and decisions in practice must always be of the highest standard which makes me think more about self-improvement.”

According to managers, anecdotal evidence suggests there has seen a drop in the number of complaints and an increase in compliments in A&E since the new staff members came into post.

Participants said they felt the training could benefit others, which could include extending it to senior staff nurses and nurses at other trusts across the region.