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Filipino Nurses in Control- Patient Flow Team

Updated: May 31, 2021

We met Christine, a Band 8 Lead Nurse Site Operations from one of the best performing hospitals in England. She is one of the senior Filipino Nurses who manage the control room or the patient flow of the leading university hospitals in the UK. She shares with us the challenges they have as a team and the role of Filipino Nurses in the success of the Trust.

Can you tell us about your own role?

My role as a Lead Nurse Site Operations involves the day-to-day bed management in the control room which is the operational facility for the whole Trust. I am a part of the Patient flow team. I use live data to track flow across the hospital and through this I can identify issues and delays to meet the demands of effective site & bed management. There would be days that I have to take on the role of Silver Command, which means I would have to be the Site coordinator for the Trust for all major incidents until the arrival of the designated General Manager. This is essential as our trust holds a strategic location being literally a stone’s throw away from a busy motorway and airport. And so having a standby chain of command is critical in our hospital’s response to any possible emergency.

Who is the Patient Flow Team and their role in the Trust?

Our patient flow team is a team of experienced nurses and health care professionals that covers the whole hospital site. We ensure that the patient’s journey through the hospital is carried out safely and in a timely manner from their arrival in A&E, then transfer to the ward and administration of the treatment, tests, surgery, recovery and eventually their discharge.

The Patient Flow Team was formed to prevent overcrowding in the emergency department and to ensure the patients’ experience in the hospital will be delivered safely and effectively. We work closely with ward managers, matrons, infection control team and the discharge planning team to achieve this common goal which is good patient outcomes. Good patient flow has shown great benefits to the Trust, such as reduction in Hospital crowding particularly with the emergency department and mark down of mortality rates. We aim to get the right patient into the right bed at the right time. Ultimately, harm for the patient is reduced and in turn hospital staff feels less pressured.

Are there Filipino Nurses in the Patient Flow team? What experience is needed to join the team?

Yes we do! There are 20 staffs in patient flow team, 13 of which are Filipino Nurses. All of us have very wide and diverse backgrounds. We have senior nurses who practiced Acute Medicine including Emergency care and Assessment units. We have nurses with extensive experience in critical care, surgery and recovery. And our band levels range from Band 6 to 8. We value diversity in experience as it helps broaden our vision, give our team a diverse approach in problem solving and contribute to achieving our goal which again is achieving good if not best patient outcomes.

Why do you think you have a good number of Filipino Nurses in the team? And how important is the role of Filipino Nurses in your trust?

Filipino nurses are well known to the world as diligent and hard working. There is always a Filipino nurse in countries such as the USA, Australia, New Zealand and of course the Middle East. Our trust has acknowledged recognised this and continues to recruit Filipino nurses since early 2000s.

Currently, we have notable Filipino nurses who are entrusted with leadership and critical roles within the trust. In our own team, 13 Filipino nurses, 11 of us also holds the senior bleep Site Nurse and responsible for the whole Trust particularly out of hours. We have been given an opportunity to show our own potential & develop our skills outside the traditional realms of nursing.

Aside from Filipinos being hardworking, I think it is also our resilience and “can do” attitude that helped us perform in our roles. We defy adversity face challenges head on. If Plan A does not work, we have plans B & C (and so on) to achieve the desirable outcome for our patients.

Our line manager speaks highly of Filipino Nurses, claiming we work hard, always professional and polite. And a pleasure to work with.

What are your achievements as a team?

Our hospital is ranked as one of the top performing hospital in the country, particularly in meeting the Government’s A&E targets. Since 2015 we have met our A&E targets, more than 98% of patients attending the emergency department completed their care within four hours, against a national target of 95 %. This has been achieved at a time when the hospital has experienced its highest number of attendances ever, with our emergency department now seeing more than 300 people a day. Even the BBC commended and cited our hospital when they published an analysis of its NHS Tracker project in 2019. We consistently achieve 98% of our targets even throughout perennial winter pressures.

What have been the challenges that your team has faced? How did you manage during this COVID pandemic?

Our daily challenges vary on the hospital activities. Mostly, it comes down to no bed capacity for the emergency and elective admissions. We work closely with the discharge planning team, including general managers to chase up all discharges and try to prioritise them in diagnostics, pharmacy and transport. We work with the Senior Nurses to plan for staffing in the need of opening contingency areas if necessary.

Facing Covid is like facing the unknown. Staffing was difficult to manage due to the redeployment and staff requiring to go into shielding.

We have to manage out the wards into red Covid area and green/amber wards. We work alongside the infection control team to achieve this. We also had to create a bigger bed base for critically-ill Covid patients. And in response to the call of the times, we even deployed a few of our senior nurses to ITU & HDU to give these units a helping hand.

Do you have a message for Filipino nurses in the UK who might want to join the Patient flow team of their own trust?

If you are thinking of joining patient flow in your Trust, I suggest try and spend a day with them and get to know the team. If you are ready to leave bed side nursing for new challenges, then go for it. Being a bed manager is a different type of nursing role. It is all about patients' experience and making sure they have the best outcome.

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