Lydia Robinson presented her suggestion for creating a “communication passport” to leaders at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust at a first-of-a-kind event, which was aimed at harnessing student nurse innovation.
“Student nurses offer a fresh perspective on how we can improve the experience of patients”
She was one of around 40 third-year students from the University of East Anglia who showcased their evidence-based ideas for improving patient services, which they developed as part of their final module drawing on their experiences from clinical placement.
The event was put together by two nurses from Norfolk and Norwich and supported by the trust’s chief nurse, Professor Nancy Fontaine, as they felt an opportunity was being missed by allowing these proposals to gather dust.
“As they enter our profession, student nurses offer a fresh perspective on how we can improve the experience of patients in our care,” said Professor Fontaine. “We want to encourage them to drive improvement throughout their careers and I hope that this event has inspired them to do so.”
Ms Robinson’s idea was picked as the overall winner of the Chief Nurse Award for Student Nurse Innovation in Service Improvement.
Professor Fontaine said leaders at the trust felt the idea had “incredible potential” and could be adapted to promote safety and effectiveness in a variety of care situations.
“We love that it lends itself to empowering patients by providing them with a record of their care need and could see it greatly benefitting the care experiences of many.”
“It was an amazing day of sharing ideas and discussion”
Ms Robinson, who is going on to work for Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said she was “completely shocked” to win.
“I saw from my placement that transferring from child to adult mental health services could be very traumatic, and felt that a passport would help make the transition easier,” she said.
Runners-up were Edwina Gold for her idea of establishing a clinic to help pre-diabetic obese patients improve their health, and Amanda Belsham, who suggested introducing a study day to raise awareness of transgender patient issues among emergency department staff.
Coral Drane, lecturer in adult nursing at the University of East Anglia, said: “It was an amazing day of sharing ideas and discussion.
“We are so proud of our final year student nurses, both in terms of the quality of their service improvement posters and their professionalism.”
Abi Kirkaldy, safer staffing lead at Norfolk and Norwich, said she was “very interested” to all the students’ ideas.
“It’s 12 years since I was a student nurse and I know how important it is to encourage a focus on service improvement, innovation and quality from the earliest stages in our careers,” she said. “The originality, range and quality of ideas was incredible.”
The service improvement team at the trust will now explore whether they want to implement any of the ideas presented working in collaboration with the students.