Students make a difference to Essex patients

Published: 19 July 2013 at 15:28

Healthcare initiatives will be showcased at Anglia Ruskin awards ceremony

Innovations and initiatives that could make a real difference to patient care across Essex hospitals will be recognised at a special awards event at Anglia Ruskin University on Friday, 26 July.

The ideas, which range from “welcome packs” for emergency patients to providing anti-bacterial wipes on food trays to promote hygiene prior to eating, have all been suggested by health care students at Anglia Ruskin and are now being taken forward and developed by local NHS trusts. 

All of Anglia Ruskin’s health care courses promote the involvement of patients and carers by inviting them into the classrooms to speak to students, and each of these new, low-cost ideas were inspired by the patients’ own experiences of being in hospital.

Patricia Turnbull, Senior Lecturer in Acute Care, said:

“After spending time listening to the patients’ stories, our students pledge to improve one aspect of care and then fulfil this during their next clinical placement.
“In their final year, health care students develop one of their pledges to demonstrate how it could make a difference to patient care.”

A total of 37 innovations suggested by Nursing, Midwifery and Operating Department Practice students are now being developed by NHS trusts in Essex. 

Examples include a “Who is who?” poster to be displayed on the lockers by patients’ beds, which was the idea of Colette O’Neill while on placement at Southend Hospital University Trust.  Colette hopes the poster will help patients and their families better understand the roles of the different staff working on the ward.

Kelly Taverner, who was on placement at Basildon and Thurrock University Hospital Trust, suggested providing “dignity pegs”, to give patients privacy by allowing them to close their bedside curtains from the inside, while Caroline Evans devised a “welcome pack”, including toiletries for emergency patients, while at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow.

Nicole Sweeting (Mid Essex Hospital Foundation Trust) proposed adding anti-bacterial wipes to food trays to promote better hygiene before meals.  At Colchester Hospital University Foundation Trust, Kayleigh Beben has suggested developing measured drinking cups to help monitor fluid intake.

All of the 37 innovations have been discussed with senior staff at the trusts and some have already been implemented.  Supporting these innovations demonstrates that the trusts are keen to listen to student feedback and improve patient care. 

Senior staff from the trusts and the Head of Workforce Partnership at Health Education East of England will be attending the ceremony, which will take place at Anglia Ruskin’s Chelmsford campus on Friday, 26 July (1pm).  The awards will be presented by Professor David Humber, Pro Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education.