The last few weeks have been frustrating! Our brilliant practice educators in our neonatal teams have lined up our next group of fabulous nurses to do their Qualification in Specialty (QIS) Course at our local University but the funding for these programmes hasn’t been confirmed from Health Education England yet. Our staff have lives to organise, families, caring responsibilities to juggle not knowing if they’ll be starting in April creates uncertainty that seems so unnecessary.
When I spend time on our neonatal units our littlest humans never cease to make me catch my breath! The tiniest bonnets, tapes, splints, drug infusions, their positioning, the preciseness of the care is all so vital as we know these neonatal graduates are often our children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, are sometimes our ‘Looked After Children’ and others have ongoing medical complexity requiring life long input from the NHS. The expert care they receive (or don’t receive) in the neonatal period affects the rest of their lives.
I’ve been privileged throughout my career to access a whole range of education and training that’s made a huge difference to my practice. I remember one particular incident when I’d moved from a specialist area back into a very busy general Paeds setting. I’d come on shift one evening and a little one in our high dependency cubicle stopped breathing, I remember a sense of panic yet almost instantly I recall Loretta an experienced Paeds Nurse coming alongside me, sweeping into action as she pulled the crash bell and started resuscitation, after a lot of complex interventions, all was well. However I felt out of my depth so, I knew I had a knowledge gap, so the next day I’d secured my place on EPLS and had read extensively on deteriorating children and earliest recognition. I never wanted to feel that sense of panic again.
Now in a senior role its more important than ever that we advocate for our staff to have access to education that makes a difference to patients and their families. It was Joanna Hughes, mum to Jasmin who reminded me of this on Twitter this week, as she shared a report from the ‘Harmed Patients Alliance’ https://harmedpatientsalliance.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/The-Experience-of-Harmed-Patients-and-Families-FINAL18.pdf
The report highlights the essential need for us to do all we can in supporting staff to have the expert skills to care for our patients safely, and where things go wrong to care for families compassionately.
Ensuring our staff have access to education and training to provide complex, technical and ever evolving care is essential. Not all education can or should provided ‘in house’ access to education in academic settings to challenge, be with other colleagues from other units to debate, inspire, enhance our practice is ESSENTIAL for care and must be invested in if we’re to make progress …
Goodness I hope those Education Budgets from HEE are released soon!