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Safe nurse staffing app wins national award

Nursing innovations celebrated at the first Academy of Fabulous NHS Stuff awards in London this week

A safe staffing app which gives real-time information on the number of nurses on the wards at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust scooped top prize at the inaugural Academy of Fabulous NHS Stuff awards in London.

Left to right: Jon Wilks - Director UK HealthGateway; Ann-Marie Riley - Deputy Chief Nurse at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust; Caron Swinscoe - Chief Nurse Health informatics at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, and Roy Lilley - Chairman UK HealthGateway. Photo credit:  Barney Newman

Chief nurse Caron Swinscoe and deputy chief nurse Ann-Marie Riley created the tool to provide an at-a-glance picture of staffing levels on the wards.

The nurse in charge of a ward submits staffing data through the app on a smartphone or tablet at the start of a shift and updates it with any changes during the shift.

‘We ask the nurse submitting the information if, in her professional judgment, she feels safe with current staffing levels on that ward and we can access that information, live, at any point during the day and act immediately if an alert is raised,’ Ms Swinscoe said.

The system is in use on 74 of the trust’s wards and is currently being rolled out to the remaining wards. There are also plans to use the tool to evaluate other staffing levels, including doctors and healthcare assistants.

The awards were launched earlier this year by health commentator and blogger Roy Lilley. The ceremony was attended by England's chief nursing officer Jane Cummings and NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens.

Other nurse-led category winners included 5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Foundation Trust for a street triage scheme to keep people in mental health crisis out of police custody, and South Glasgow University Hospital for a scheme to remind staff looking after older people on the wards what matters to them.

Speaking to RCNi at the event, Mr Stevens said: ‘This event is positive proof that given half the chance the staff and carers of the NHS can make fundamental changes despite the pressures they face.

‘We have got to back our frontline staff and good things will result.’

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