New nurse-led 'Nightingale' approach to ensure consistent care for patients


Posted on Thursday 12 May 2016
Nightingale Project team

The Nightingale Project is led by ward sisters and matrons.

Guy’s and St Thomas’ has launched a new nurse-led project to ensure that patients receive safe, effective care delivered with the utmost kindness at all times.

Launched on International Nurses’ Day (12 May) and branded the Nightingale Project in honour of the pioneering nurse, the initiative is led by ward sisters and matrons in partnership with members of the multi-disciplinary team. It aims to improve further the consistency of care provided by different clinicians caring for a patient.

Nurses participating in the project will ensure that clinical teams work together in better ways to provide consistency in the key factors affecting patients’ and staff experience. The initiative starts with a focus on arrangements in the first and last hour of the shift and standardising how nursing staff are deployed.  

By modelling this approach on different care settings, including acute hospital wards for both adults and children and community services, the Trust anticipates improvements in patient safety and higher rates of patient satisfaction with the care they receive. It also expects to see a boost to staff satisfaction and a positive impact on their health and wellbeing. 

Dame Eileen Sills, Chief Nurse and Director of Patient Experience, says: “Care must always be delivered with the utmost kindness. We’re determined to ensure that our patients receive the same standard of high quality care at any point in time, whether night or day. I also want to ensure that all our staff feel supported, have the right skills, and feel they are able to fulfil their potential.

“We know that every ward works differently and every shift can be different, with skills spread unevenly across the 24 hours. The Nightingale Project seeks to minimise these inconsistencies and will see staff from different clinical backgrounds working more consistently as a team.

“The way we are approaching this project is only possible because of the outstanding cadre of ward leaders we have. We are taking a very different approach – we’re allowing our ward sisters and matrons to determine what is needed and then we will support them to implement the changes.

“Our priority is to establish a consistent, standardised approach to the delivery of care that improves the quality of care for our patients and leaves them feeling reassured and safe.”

The project will initially involve testing and learning through simulation. There are eleven ‘test and learn’ sites across Guy’s and St Thomas’ where multi-disciplinary teams will contribute to the development of the new approach to providing consistent care.

The name of the project was chosen at a meeting of Guy’s and St Thomas’ nursing staff. ‘Nightingale’ was the most popular choice and acknowledges the Trust’s many links to the famous nurse, who established her nursing school at St Thomas’ Hospital in 1860. When the hospital was rebuilt in the 1860s, it was one of the first in the world to adopt Nightingale’s research on the design of hospital buildings and ward layouts.

Dame Eileen says: “Florence Nightingale left a lasting legacy of commitment to improving care for patients. Her example is still inspiring us in the 21st century and the decision by our nursing staff to name this project in her honour shows how much we value her pioneering work.”

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