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How a new nursing role is tackling hospital-associated harm

UK’s first consultant nurse in harms-free care champions holistic approach to patient safety
Sue Harris, the UK’s first consultant nurse in harms-free care

UK’s first consultant nurse in harms-free care champions holistic approach to patient safety

A trust in Surrey is hoping to lead the way in preventing hospital-associated harm with the introduction of a first-of-its-kind senior nursing role.

The UK’s first consultant nurse in harms-free care, Sue Harris, will develop and lead a new harm-free care strategy at Ashford and St Peter's Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Ms Harris said the intention is to take a more holistic organisational approach to harms associated with pressure ulcers, falls, venous thromboembolism, nutrition and hydration and catheter-associated urinary tract infections.

Harms are interrelated, so the healthcare strategy should be

'We don’t want to look at harms in isolation because they are very much interrelated,’ she said.

For instance, someone who is dehydrated could be

UK’s first consultant nurse in harms-free care champions holistic approach to patient safety

Sue Harris, the UK’s first consultant nurse in harms-free care
Sue Harris: 'We don’t want to look at harms in isolation'

A trust in Surrey is hoping to lead the way in preventing hospital-associated harm with the introduction of a first-of-its-kind senior nursing role.

The UK’s first consultant nurse in harms-free care, Sue Harris, will develop and lead a new harm-free care strategy at Ashford and St Peter's Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Ms Harris said the intention is to take a more holistic organisational approach to harms associated with pressure ulcers, falls, venous thromboembolism, nutrition and hydration and catheter-associated urinary tract infections.

Harms are interrelated, so the healthcare strategy should be

'We don’t want to look at harms in isolation because they are very much interrelated,’ she said.

For instance, someone who is dehydrated could be at risk of falling, or someone falling could be at higher risk of pressure damage, she said.

'The hope is we reduce harm but also acquire more understanding on how the harms interrelate.’

Other trusts interested in the role

Ms Harris said staff training and education will be refreshed as part of the strategy, which will also look at ways to make data more accessible to front-line nurses.

'I also want wards and areas to share what is going well and we will all learn together – I want to celebrate when things go well.'

After four weeks in the post, Ms Harris said other trusts have already shown interest in introducing the role.

Ashford and St Peter's Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust interim chief nurse Andrea Lewis said the role will provide valuable leadership for the trust’s harms teams, enabling a more collaborative approach to patient safety initiatives.


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