The purpose of practice development is to improve patient care. Essentially practice development involves new ways of working which lead to direct and measurable improvements to the care or service that clients receive, to changes that occur as a response to a specific need or problem, to changes that lead to the development of more effective services and to the expansion of working practice.
The process ensures that change is planned and systematic. For practice development to be effective and achieve its purpose there needs to be an awareness of either a better method of service delivery or an awareness of a specific client need. It may be that professional development will be the catalyst to advance such developments. Prior to advancing any development in practice it is important to ensure that it fits with the aims of the organisation.
Practice development involves the introduction of changes in practice, the support and development of practitioners, setting standards and quality improvement. It has three different, but interconnected, interfaces in service delivery; firstly at the client/patient level, secondly on an organisational level and lastly at a strategic level.
In order for practice development to be effective there must be a clear strategy and a number of enabling factors are necessary:
- an understanding of the context and culture of the organisation
- a recognition of desired practice approaches that are clinically and cost effective
- a culture that fosters a commitment to team development as a component of clinical effectiveness.
Practice development sits within the Primary Care Patient Safety and Governance team. The team consists of:
- 1 Lead Nurse
- 1 Senior Practitioner
- 3 Senior Nurses
- 1 Registered Nurse
Practice development over the last few years has brought forward a number of initiatives. These include:
- V100 nurse prescribing.
- The introduction of zone working in both the district nursing and health visiting services to improve on patient contact time.
- The introduction of the District Nursing Treatment Room which has provided a better service for patients who can be seen at an appointed time as well as freeing up time for staff to visit those patients who do require home visits.
- The Multi Professional Forum which commenced as a way of increasing awareness of all that was happening in nursing and social care. The forum continues to meet its purpose of “working together to promote the sharing of knowledge and best practice innovations within health and Social care to develop practice and improve client centered care”.
- The Wound Formulary which resulted in joint working between Primary Care and Nobles Staff and went on to win the Top Team Award.
Proposed initiatives for the future include:
- The commencement of Action Learning, to be a joint venture with nurses from Ramsey Cottage Hospital and Community Nursing Staff to enable wider sharing of knowledge and learning opportunities.
- V150 training commenced in September 2011 and it is planned after completion of the course in 2012 to re-establish a non-medical prescribing forum to support staff in their prescribing activity as well as keep them informed with changes to medications.
- A pilot adult protection training course using e-learning.
Susan Dunajewski Senior Nurse Practice Development