Effectiveness of the Deputizing Nurse Consultant Programme

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Authors (including presenting author) :
Kwan CWM(1), Chung TK (2), Chim CK (3), Law MC(4), LEESY (5), Mak SS (6), Wong RYM(4), Ho BPY(2)
Affiliation :
(1) Palliative Care Team, (2) Central Nursing Division, (3)Community Outreach Services Team (4) Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, (5) Department of Paediatrics, (6) Department of Clinical Oncology, NTEC hospitals
Introduction :
The Deputizing Nurse Consultant (DNC) programme was first piloted in NTEC at 1-6/2016 and rolled out in July 2016. In that year, thirteen Nurse Consultants (NCs) were involved and their corresponding Deputizing Nurse Consultants (DNCs) took up the deputizing duty during the period of the NCs’ leave for one week or more. Since this programme was a new trial in the New Territories East Cluster, its effectiveness is crucial to the future development.
Objectives :
(1) to evaluate whether the DNC programme could achieve its objectives to ensure continuity of service during the leave period of the NCs and to enable succession planning; (2) to identify areas for programme enhancement
Methodology :
Both quantitative and qualiative methods have been used to evaluate the program. This included a satisfaction questionnaire on the DNC programme and focus group semi-structured interviews.Four target groups including NCs, past DNCs , Departmental Operation Managers (DOMs), and Advanced Practice Nurses (APNs) who had worked with NCs before, were involved in the evaluation.
Result & Outcome :
Total 41 participants were involved in the evaluation. The mean score of overall satisfaction was 6.86 (SD 1.77) out of 10. Most of the participants were satisfied with the programme, in particular, on the understanding of the roles and responsibilities of DNCs. The programme was highly valued for serving significant function in ensuring continuity of service and chance of staff exposure to DNCs. Opinions on the process of selection of DNCs pointed out that “interest” as a criterion was controversial and the priority of selection could be more transparent. The log book served as a framework to introduce the roles and responsibilities of DNC, yet, the domains were broad to be achieved. Although all four focus groups came up with that pre-working with NC was the major beneficial factor in facilitating the DNC’s work, a few limiting factors were also identified including manpower constraints, the need of working across hospitals, limited chance in pre-working with NCs and complexity of NC’s work. Some key enhancement were proposed including more structured training, better planning through system, staff arrangement and adequate extended time working with NCs prior to deputizing period. In conclusion, the mplementation of the DNC programme is feasible in majority of specialties and can serve to relieve the duty partially during the NC’s leave which is deemed important to ensure the continuity of NCs services. The program receives appreciation that it serves as an important foundation, from which it will be enhanced through different strategies.

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