Nurses urged to use their imaginations

A call has been made for nurses to be less risk averse and to use their imaginations to work more creatively.

Geraldine Murray, the Galway Clinic’s director of nursing, was speaking at its inaugural nursing conference.

In her opening address she highlighted the importance of collaboration, partnership and leadership when delivering a person-centred approach to patient care.

She advised that nurses be a “little less risk averse and take courage to use their imaginations to develop a vision for leading safe, caring and effective nursing practice that involves thinking and working differently and more creatively”.

She outlined this could be achieved through good visionary leadership tempered by pragmatic management.

The conference which attracted more than 80 participants from all over the country heard about the challenges and opportunities of working within an organisation which delivers person-centred care within a “high-tech and “lean” environment.

A number of national nursing leaders made presentations on the day including the deputy chief executive of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland, Deirdre Hogan, the deputy chief nursing officer of Ireland, Orla O’Brien and a number of nurses from the Galway Clinic.

These included Sinead Hanley, the assistant director of nursing, Michele Hardiman, nurse practice development and education facilitator, Kathleen Canavan, advance nurse practitioner, Roisin Walsh, nurse manager, Agne Liobikiene, nurse manager, James Carr, chief pharmacist, Raphael Jaffrezic, chief information officer and Jackie Kirrane, Healthcare Informatics.

The keynote speaker was Professor Jan Dewing from Canterbury Christ Church University in England who is internationally renowned for her research in practice development and person-centred practice.

The conference highlighted the fact that health and technology works for the interest of all those involved in health care. Any health care facility, public or private, must learn from the strong points of other health care facilities, from their nursing practices and associated technology.

Health care calls for creativity and imagination, the conference heard. Nurses are well positioned to deliver this “creativity and imagination”, stressed Geraldine Murray - there are more than 67,000 nurses on the Irish nursing register and 37 per cent of health care employees are nurses.

Many speakers spoke about the complexity of health care, medicine, health economics and health legislation. It became clear throughout the conference that the majority of patients do not mind whether their care is provided by the public, private, voluntary or not-for-profit sectors. They want the best quality care and the best outcomes regardless of facilities or technologies. They also want availability and accessibility when such health care is required. This, according to nurses from the Galway Clinic, is how they deliver this care, namely, through a “person-centred approach” resulting in “good patient experiences”.

Patients and the public also want to have confidence in their doctors and nursing staff. They want to be treated with dignity and respect, be communicated with as equals and want standards to be set and enforced.

They want their health care to be carried out efficiently. They want health care administration to meet the highest standards of customer-focus that are on a par with the best health care facilities around the world.

Health care is not better or worse because it is publicly or privately funded and managed, “it is better or worse because of standards, management, professional competence and use of resources”, stressed Ms Murray.

The key task is to set the right standards, the conference was told, and to challenge providers to meet, and even exceed, those standards. Nurses are guided towards this by their regulatory body, the Nursing and Midwifery Board, by the Nurses and Midwives Act 2011, by a code of conduct and by their “scope of practice”.

“Staff who want to work in an environment where standards of patient care really count, where person-centred practice is valued and encouraged, where there is unique availability of every piece of information for every patient at the fingertips of the multidisciplinary team in real time, everywhere, throughout the hospital, then the Galway Clinic is the place to work”.

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