Groundbreaking training programme wins community matrons the Nursing Older People Award

Two community matrons with a groundbreaking approach to training care home staff have won the Nursing Older People Award at the 2017 RCNI Nurse Awards.

Sue Wills and Dena Ross
Susan Wills and Dena Ross. Picture: Tim George

Susan Wills and Dena Ross have reduced unplanned and avoidable admissions by supporting the carers to manage residents safely in their nursing homes. Their work is significantly reducing emergency department (ED) attendances and saving thousands of pounds.

For their ‘fantastic piece of work’, the matrons from Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust (SWBH) were named winners of the BUPA-sponsored category during a gala ceremony at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel on Friday night.

Confidence and competence

They put into practice first-person-on-the-scene (FPOS) training to upskill staff, and to improve their confidence and competence in dealing with healthcare professionals.

The team’s results are impressive. It can demonstrate an 18% reduction in ED attendances and a 29% reduction in admissions to SWBH.

Key to their success, said Susan, is their clinical credibility and communication skills, and their ability to obtain care home chief executive and trust board buy-in to their service. ‘Importantly, we had established and trusted relationships with care homes and stakeholders and we work as part of an integrated service,’ she added.

'The extra mile'

For Hall Green care home manager Stuart Holyhead, the matrons’ continued professional support has been ‘invaluable’. ‘They go the “extra mile” to aid our residents to have the highest possible standard of healthcare in the place they now call home,’ he said. ‘The training our staff received has empowered them to feel confident and well qualified in their caring roles.’

King’s College Hospital nurse consultant for older people Nicky Hayes was on the Nurse Awards judging panel. She was impressed by the scope of the project: ‘It involved all the key players in working together to support care in the right place for care home residents. Susan and Dena’s vision, hard work and enthusiasm were unbeatable.’

Bupa professional standards manager Sue Roberts was also on the panel. She said: ‘The winners demonstrated passion and enthusiasm for the people in their care and they have the potential to improve the lives of hundreds of care home residents.’

Further information

For the full story on their work, click here.

For a round up of all the winners, finalists and coverage of the night’s events, go to RCNi’s Nurse Awards home page.

The RCNi Nurse Awards are the profession’s top accolade for nursing excellence. They recognise and reward nurses who have come up with new ways to improve health outcomes, enhance patient experiences and transform nursing practice. The awards provide a fantastic opportunity to share nursing initiatives, raise the profile of nursing, gain national recognition and influence nursing policy and practice.

Look out for details of how to enter the 2018 awards!