Thursday 27th April 2017

No two shifts are the same on the Inpatient Unit (IPU) but that’s what makes my role as ward secretary so interesting.

The first task of the day is to process any referrals. These are generally made by a Triage Nurse or Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) and will sometimes have been sent through from a hospital. These referrals are then discussed at a daily meeting attended by various members of the team including IPU staff, consultants, doctors, pharmacists,
members of bereavement team, physiotherapists, and spiritual support staff.

Following the meeting the welcome nurse will inform me of any admissions that day and I will then arrange ambulance transport if necessary, either a stretcher ambulance or wheelchair ambulance, depending on the
patient’s mobility. I also check if the patient needs oxygen and has any specific wishes or preferences. Once the admission is confirmed, I provide the welcome team with an updated patient list, inform the kitchen of the admission, and prepare a folder ready for patient information.

When the patient arrives, they are shown to their room and the welcome nurse settles them in. I then enter their details into the admissions book.

If there has been a death on the IPU, I notify the patient’s GP and process the paperwork, including informing the Farleigh welcome team. Sometimes the death has to be referred to the coroner (if a patient has had surgery within the last 12 months, or has been an inpatient for less than 24 hours). This unfortunately means a delay
in releasing the medical certificate to the family so there are often sensitive telephone conversations with family members.

A daily task is finding bank staff to cover various shifts due to illness or annual leave. This is probably the most challenging and time-consuming part of my job!

All these tasks are interspersed with telephone enquiries, meeting arriving visitors, dealing with any maintenance
or IT issues, emailing medication orders to the pharmacy, monitoring the property cupboard, and a 1001 other tasks!

While all this is going on, the nursing staff are giving the patients their personal care, the doctors are doing their rounds on the ward, the volunteer hostess is asking the patients what they would like for lunch and maybe providing drinks for visitors, our chaplain Lucyann may be chatting to a patient, the cleaners are busy with Henry
the Hoover, the kitchen staff are wheeling trolleys, and there is a general buzz of activity.

In the afternoon, I handover to my colleague Alison Jeffs who will work alongside the team working the late shift. After this, the team who have worked the early shift often join together for a period of reflection. I have been privileged to be included in this on occasions and it is a time when the team can express any concerns or emotions they may have following their shift.

I work with an amazing team of people and it is a real privilege to be part of the IPU family.

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