RCN Wales Nurse of the Year: award for community nurse who spotted gaps in sepsis education and took action

Teaching package supports community staff to excalate concerns about patient deterioration

Teaching package supports community staff to escalate concerns about patient deterioration

Eve Lightfoot receiving her award. Picture: Huw John

A community nurse who produced a sepsis teaching package being delivered by resuscitation teams in hospitals in Wales has won a national award.

Eve Lightfoot was named RCN Wales Nurse of the Year for her work in raising awareness of the life-threatening condition.

Ms Lightfoot, a community infection prevention nurse at Hywel Dda University Health Board in south Wales, came up with the idea after becoming concerned about the lack of sepsis education for community staff.

The teaching package was developed as part of Ms Lightfoot's research internship on sepsis, which was funded by Swansea University and the health board. It pulls together guidance on:

  • How to assess a deteriorating patient and be empowered to make escalation and referral decisions.
  • Holistic care to prevent infections and possible risk of sepsis.
  • Care and support for people who have survived severe sepsis.

Initially, the teaching was delivered to community nurses across Carmarthenshire before expanding to resuscitation education teams in hospitals in Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire.

As a result of her work, a community Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation (SBAR) template and National Early Warning Score (NEWS) – to improve detection and response to deteriorating patients – are being incorporated into community nurse practice.

Ms Lightfoot, who is also a qualified district nurse, said she was proud and privileged to receive the award.

She said: ‘The teaching was just the start of it all really. Since then, I have secured the standardisation of equipment for the district and community nurses across the health board, with the purchasing of pulse oximeters to ensure we can all perform a full set of observations and NEWS score.'

Ms Lightfoot added: ‘The main message for community staff when faced with a deteriorating patient is to stop and think. Do a full set of observations, a NEWS score. Think holistically. Could it be sepsis?’

She now hopes to address the need for better understanding and support for sepsis survivors in Wales.

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