Fighting for Aged Care
Maroubra nurse Corey Sclater has won the 2020 Champions for Change award at Prince of Wales Hospital for a new system of forms that aid in the handover of nurses’ shifts.
Mr Sclater introduced the Safe Clinical Handover improvement project in the Prince of Wales aged care ward in his first six months as a registered nurse.
In the aged care ward, incidents like pressure injuries, falls and infections caused by cannulas that have been left in too long can result from poor communication of patients’ information when nurses change shifts. Mr Sclater’s new handover sheet template has already been shown to reduce these kinds of injuries by around 30 per cent.
“The handover sheet is meant as a prompting tool, but if there’s more information on it, it means nurses are more likely to remember things that need to be checked. In a tense and stressful environment, it’s so important to have a safeguard in place, so you don’t forget things,” Mr Sclater told The Beast.
In addition to creating the new handover sheets, Mr Sclater was also responsible for training other more experienced nurses in his new systems and creating visual media to communicate new procedures throughout the ward.
Handover procedures are necessary for all hospitals to ensure relevant care is given to patients when one nurse finishes a shift and the next nurse begins, but the handover processes for the aged care ward hadn’t been updated in over twenty years.
“What’s the use of having it if it’s not updated or giving a helpful depth of information? There’s a real stigma around working in aged care, but it’s just as important as the ICU or other wards that have their procedures updated regularly,” Mr Sclater told The Beast.
Mr Sclater hopes that the ongoing Royal Commission into aged care will help bring attention to the stigma around working in the sector amongst health professionals and hopes that more healthcare workers will see aged care as a meaningful sector to work in.
“There is so much to learn working in aged care. It’s not just menial tasks; you learn amazing coping skills and time management strategies that serve you really well across your whole career,” Mr Sclater explained.
Mr Sclater graduated from the Australian Catholic University in 2019. In the future, he hopes to go to medical school and become a geriatrician, a doctor who specialises in aged care.
In the meantime, however, his award-winning protocols are being implemented in other wards throughout the hospital and beyond.
“I’d like to promote this system throughout the hospital district and up to all of New South Wales Health,” Mr Sclater told The Beast.
He hopes this will help many more nurses to work well while coping with the pressures of the job.
“Nurses do everyone’s job a bit and then do their own. Without good systems in place you get jagged care rather than continuous care that really makes a difference in the quality of life,” he said.
Mr Sclater is also one of three finalists for the New South Wales Graduate Nurse of the Year.