As Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) turn to action across England, Page & Page’s Communications Director Cori Hollenbach explores whether healthcare companies are considering the influence nurses can have on promoting shared-decision making in prescribing.
From April 2017, 44 individual Sustainability and Transformation
Plans (STPs) will be officially rolled-out, signalling a fundamental shift in
how the NHS provides patient care. Across England, each STP will be taking a
localised approach to achieving its objectives of strengthening prevention and
primary care services, reducing the burden on acute hospitals and increasing
savings and efficiencies. This requires a significant restructure of
commissioning and care services.
For many healthcare professionals, including nurses, day-to-day roles
will inevitably evolve as they collaborate within newly-formed, multi-disciplinary
teams and take part in decision making for their local patient populations. With
many STPs prioritising the importance of shared-decision making, nurses can
bring a wide range of soft skills to drive this forward such as relationship
building and understanding the patient perspective.
Nurses are best
equipped to prepare patients for shared-decision making The positive impact nurses have on patient communications is clear.Research shows patients are more
satisfied with care from a nurse practitioner than from a doctor, with no
difference in health outcomes. Specialist nurses are rated higher than any
other health and social care professional in understanding patient needs, being
transparent and honest and keeping an ‘open door’ policy to elicit real patient
feedback. And at any given time, nurses working within multi-professional teams
can be wearing up to six functional hats from assessment, co-ordination and
communication, technical care to the more emotive side of providing support to
families. The increasing
influence of nurses in commissioning and care services Particularly at the senior level, more nurses are on the front
lines of decision making for local prescribing protocols. Nurses who had
traditionally not been involved in commissioning services now play key roles
within CCGs. Since 2012, this statutory position has given commissioning nurse
leaders a platform to bring a wealth of clinical knowledge and share their
expert opinion with the wider commissioning team for key decisions, especially
around quality assurance of services.
Steps are now being taken to broaden this type of influential
platform to all levels of nursing. Barts Health NHS Trust, the largest NHS
trust in England, recently launched a ‘clinical senate’ of 80 people chaired by
its chief nurse to ensure the profession’s perspective is heard loud and clear
in the planning and delivering of services. The initiative was formed to bring
the nurses’ perspective from ‘ward to board’ and includes regular debates on
key care issues. It’s a mechanism to bring together perspectives from student
nurses to consultants and nursing leads, it has the potential to boost the
profession’s input into action-based solutions for the trust.
How can the healthcare industry better support nurses? As STPs take shape, nurses are a key bridge between patients and
decision makers both in and outside of clinical practice.
For many healthcare companies, training and support for nurses
seem to stop at clinic. Many of our clients commission us to create dialogue
tools to improve patient assessments, e-learning and live trainings to refine
technical skills, features and benefits driven detail aids, etc. All well and
good, but we can be doing more to empower and inform nurses in management roles,
particularly during STP roll-out, to ensure care services and prescribing
decisions remain patient-centric.
The first step is getting a clear picture of the STP environment
your core customer nurses are operating in and how it shapes their beliefs and
behaviours. These insights will help spot new opportunities to meaningfully
engage with nurses who have existing platforms within the NHS organisations
they are affiliated with, local or national projects they lead or within
commissioning bodies. With a sound communications strategy based on a
shared-value proposition, authentic engagement can open doors to collaboration
and co-creation around a genuine unmet educational need. Through appropriate
and practical education in leadership, strategy, communication and management
within their therapeutic speciality, we can better equip nurses to fulfil their
In December 2016, Page & Page (http://pageandpage.uk.com/) conducted research to better understand
clinical nurse specialist personas in England. Please see corresponding PDF report for more information.
As Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) turn to action across England, Page & Page’s Communications Director Cori Hollenbach explores whether healthcare companies are considering the influence nurses can have on promoting shared-decision making in prescribing. Page & Page