When the programme she works on got paused, Excellence in Care’s Katy Haslam wondered what she could do to help NHSScotland combat COVID-19. A lot, as it turns out…
My name is Katy and I love spreadsheets, processes and being busy. So finding out the programme I work on, NMAHP directorate’s Excellence in Care (EiC), was being paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic meant my busy working life as Project Officer, the spreadsheets and the processes were all suddenly gone. What was I going to do now?
The answer came in a team call. Would you like to volunteer to work in our nearest NHS board? I immediately thought: “Yes please!” and then, “But what can someone with no clinical background do to help, really?”
“Would you like to volunteer to work in our nearest NHS board? I immediately thought: ‘Yes please!’ and then, ‘But what can someone with no clinical background do to help, really?'”
Quite a bit, it turns out. I think people forget how much admin sits behind the lovely clinical staff that make up our frontline NHS. And thanks to my colleague Norma Dodds, EiC Lead Nurse for NHS Lothian, I’m now helping out NHS Lothian’s Corporate Nursing division with their workforce planning. It’s a busy task to administrate. Actually, that is a massive understatement. But with my love of spreadsheets and being kept busy, it’s my little corner of heaven for the foreseeable.
I’m supporting Norma with the governance processes involved in recruitment and redeployment of nursing and midwifery staff, including returning staff, students, and volunteers from healthcare partnerships… eesh, I think there are about six routes into NHS Lothian! These processes are required for each of the routes, some have secondment agreements, some have service level agreements and others have pre-employment checks done on appointment. Mapping the different routes into the system helps ensure staff are safe, as they highlight the need for pre-employment checks and what training and PPE are needed for each staff member coming on board. It feels good to be a part of ensuring the steps are clear for the staff recruiting and placing the candidates.
While Norma was waiting for the redeployment processes to be agreed, I was asked to cover a week of annual leave at the Staff Bank. I was trained to use HealthRoster and helped field requests for booking agency staff onto shifts for the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, Western General Hospital and St John’s. During this time I created a ‘How to…’ guide for their online programme, Allocate. I wanted to help make asking someone to step into this role easier and my love of processes came in helpful here. It was a natural step to take the notes I made during training and type them up, so it wasn’t a huge leap to add screenshots to illustrate the steps for the various tasks the staff there undertake every day.
“I’ve learned that I don’t miss the 22 bus commute to the Gyle in the slightest, but I do miss seeing my lovely Healthcare Improvement Scotland colleagues.”
On the whole I don’t feel I’m doing anything different from my usual role, only that the circle I am working in is smaller. Instead of reaching out to all NHS boards I am working within just the one. Thanks to the EiC programme, the staff names are familiar to me but now I have the opportunity to put faces to them – from a distance of two metres, obviously.
I’ve learned that I don’t miss the 22 bus commute to the Gyle in the slightest, but I do miss seeing my lovely Healthcare Improvement Scotland colleagues. Zoom, MS Teams, Skype, WhatsApp, whatever the means, the times we check in, whether it is the EiC team or the NMAHP directorate, is always filled with anecdotes and information and many giggles. People rise up to challenges and support each other – it’s lovely to see and still feel included while I am redeployed. I also appreciate the opportunity to see first-hand what Norma does when she’s not working on the EiC programme and I’m blown away by how much is going on everyday behind the scenes. It’s made me realise how important the improvement work we do at Healthcare Improvement Scotland is and that my usual role is a worthwhile one to be in. That might be an odd observation to be making, but we’re all guilty of taking things for granted and losing sight of our purpose, and I’m no exception. I’m exceedingly grateful for my roles in both Healthcare Improvement Scotland and NHS Lothian and what it allows me to experience in and out of the workplace. I hope I don’t lose sight of this again.
Katy Haslam is a Project Officer with Excellence in Care, part of Healthcare Improvement Scotland.
Visit the Healthcare Improvement Scotland website for information on our response to COVID-19.