Nursing expertise you can trust
Posted on 12 May 2017
As the world observes International Nurses Day on 12 May, Mediclinic is accelerating their Nursing Odyssey Programme to respond to the significant challenges faced by the nursing profession in Southern Africa.
The overarching aim of Mediclinic’s Nursing Odyssey Programme is to ensure safe, compassionate and professional patient care by addressing any deficiencies or gaps that may threaten the integration of nursing theory and practice or impact the work environment of healthcare professionals. This vision can be further simplified into two strategic objectives: to deliver on the Mediclinic commitment to provide expertise patients can trust and to create healthy working environments for nurses and other healthcare workers.
Investigation and familiarisation
‘The Nursing Odyssey Programme was launched in 2013 and involved considerable analysis, planning and prioritisation,’ says Mediclinic’s Nursing Odyssey Programme Manager Yolanda Walsh. As part of the analysis component, Mediclinic embarked on an 18-month familiarisation process to identify potential barriers to attaining nursing excellence. The process included substantial data collection and collation as well as consultative workshops and focus groups with nurses across the age and skills spectrum.
‘An immense amount of work went into this investigation, generating considerable findings,’ says Walsh. ‘We incorporated the findings of the investigative reports into a consolidated timeline that looked at the life cycle of the nurse all the way from recruitment and selection to eventual organisational exit. We individually considered all nurses within the Mediclinic nursing pool such as students, permanent nurses and agency nurses. We wanted to highlight specific gaps within each phase for each specific group.’
The core findings
Three main challenge points emerged from the familiarisation process:
1. Gaps between nursing theory and practice, which could result in a lack of competence in certain areas. ‘There is an industry-wide concern about the quality of nursing care,’ says Walsh. ‘Mediclinic is investing heavily in training for nurses and we need to ensure that we are addressing the key deficits identified.’
2. The right nursing skills are needed in the right place. Professional Nurses are in short supply in certain regions. Professional Nurses are also burdened with a high administrative workload. ‘We continuously review our staffing model and nursing skills mix and are up-skilling our nurses where appropriate,’ says Walsh. ‘By using data to perform a risk analysis we are in a better position to ascertain what intervention is needed where.’ Mediclinic strives to provide continuous professional development and a people management training programme is in the pipeline for all line managers including unit managers, hospital managers and nursing managers.
3. The nursing profession is (unfortunately) fraught with unhealthy work environments and limited clinical career paths. ‘We want to focus on personal development and safe team structures to boost the performance of our nurses individually and collectively. This needs to coincide with the removal of obstacles to long-term job satisfaction for our nurses who work intensive hours in high-stress circumstances,’ says Walsh.
On the basis of these three core findings, Mediclinic will be implementing focused projects aimed at closing any gaps between expectation and delivery that may exist in nursing. ‘We are working to improve all the elements required to integrate nursing theory and practice,’ says Walsh. ‘We want to ensure that Mediclinic’s nurses are fully enabled to provide professional and safe patient care. As such, the Nursing Odyssey Programme is not finite. We will continue working on the hurdles identified through our research, and progressively address them. We believe that the Nursing Odyssey Programme will contribute to the future sustainability of Mediclinic and the country’s healthcare industry as a whole.’