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Ross Whitehead - Staff Nurse

Skills for Improvement Measurement

Initiating, planning, implementing  and reporting on improvement projects in community, primary and acute care settings is a regular feature of daily work in NHSScotland.   Thanks to the learning he gained from attending a two-day NES course on Skills for Improvement Measurement, Ross Whitehead, a staff nurse at the Huntlyburn House unit in Melrose, not only feels more confident in undertaking these small tests of  change, he is now sharing the learning with colleagues.

“I had already undertaken a small test of change on the ward in relation to medicines reconciliation but I had no experience in doing this sort of thing and didn’t know about the Plan Do Study Act cycle approach.  We did get data but I had no experience in really understanding the type of data to collect or how to analyse it”

Following a discussion with his line manager, Ross attended the NES course. 

“When I arrived for day one, I was a bit unsure if I was on the right course and found it a bit overwhelming.  I was the only staff nurse there and everyone else seemed to be a manager!  But once I was in to the work, I found it fascinating. 

“We will be carrying out more small tests of change and now I have the confidence to plan and carry them out and then go interpret the data from the tests. 

The other good thing about the course was the practical support setting and using Excel databases.  I am pretty computer literate but I didn’t know how to do this. 

“I wish the course had been a bit longer.  I would have liked to have spent even more time on learning how to interpret data that come from a test.

“A colleague is planning a test of change on how we write our patient notes.  The experience from the course and the paperwork I took away with me has really given me the confidence to advise my colleague on how to do it effectively.  The plan is to start with one staff nurse, and then gradually escalate it as the test data shows how well it is working and whether anything needs to be changed.”

The two-day programme draws extensively on case studies and project documents from improvement work taking place across NHSScotland and is consolidated by online practice activities and workplace learning.