Trust staff are receiving extra wellbeing support thanks to the trust’s new professional nurse advocates.
The professional nurse advocate (PNA) programme was launched by NHS England following the pandemic to support the restoration and recovery of the nursing workforce.
The role was originally developed within midwifery with professional midwifery advocates (PMAs) but following its success there will now be PNAs in all areas of the trust.
Helping colleagues throughout the trust
The PNAs’ training enables them to understand the challenges and demands colleagues are facing and gives them the tools they need to provide confidential support.
Currently there are 12 qualified PNAs and a further eight in training.
One of the trust’s first PNAs to qualify was critical care sister Charlotte Fitzpatrick.
Charlotte, who has worked in critical care for over ten years, joined the programme because she wanted to improve wellbeing, keep retention and generally improve things for her critical care peers.
During her training she did a survey to gauge the team’s level of burnout on one specific critical care shift.
“It showed that a lot of my colleagues are feeling burnt out. I’m hoping with the evidence we as PNA team can reduce it,” she said.
“A lot of people feel like they’re not listened to and that nothing is going to change. So, if I’m that outlet for them I can help support them in finding the right direction they need, whether that’s at home or at work.”
Out in the community
Community nurse Cordelia Nicholls was put forward for the PNA role by her clinical lead due to her positive mindset.
She hopes to offer her district nursing colleagues one-to-one sessions as well as a monthly drop in where she will provide wellbeing support and team building.
“In the community we often face different pressures and challenges.
“We’re a huge service, we don’t have an upper caseload of patients; it’s an ever-growing caseload and there’s no ceiling of care.”
Eileen Aylott is on secondment from South Tees as the regional professional nurse advocate advisor and has been working to develop trust PNA networks across the north east and Yorkshire.
She said: “This programme is a fantastic opportunity for nurses to undertake a funded level 7 (Masters) module based on the A-EQUIP (Advocating and Educating for Quality Improvement) model of professional nursing leadership and clinical supervision.
This equips them to listen and understand challenges and demands of colleagues, and to lead support and deliver quality improvement initiatives in response.”