ACP-supported redeployment in response to the COVID-19 pandemic: a service evaluation of staff experience
During the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare organisations around the world had to optimise resources and redeploy staff to meet unprecedented demands on services. This service evaluation aims to establish the experiences of nurses redeployed to a COVID-negative Nightingale ward during the first wave of the pandemic in the UK.
Purposive sampling using a survey was used to capture nurses' experiences. Data were extrapolated to meet the aims of the thematic line of enquiry and descriptive statistics used to analyse the data set.
The response rate was 34.0% (n=30). The majority of redeployees (76.7%; n=23) strongly agreed or agreed the trust induction had been beneficial. Informal learning, including from colleagues, was said to be very helpful by 50.0% (n=15) and helpful by 36.7% (n=10) of participants. Most (90.0%; n=27) agreed they were able to maintain safety, with 93.3% (n=28) satisfied with the quality of their care. Regarding giving the care they aspired to, 46.7% (n=14) strongly agreed and 40.0% (n=12) agreed they had been able to do this.
The advanced clinical practitioner role was central to successful redeployment, in preparing redeployees through induction and education. These practitioners facilitated the acquisition of the knowledge and skills to deliver competent care, ensuring staff had the capacity and capability to undertake their job. Patient safety was not compromised by redeployment.
The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic presented challenges and opportunities for advanced clinical practitioners (ACPs) to use their knowledge, skills and experiences to deliver high-quality care to patients (Health Education England (HEE), 2020), optimise their contribution in meeting the needs of the population and offer new methods of working (HEE, 2017).
This article will examine the role, skill and knowledge set of ACPs used to lead the induction, education and training of employees redeployed to a COVID-negative Nightingale ward commissioned to meet the needs of the local population in the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, and discuss their role in maintaining high-quality, safe care (HEE, 2020).
ACPs transform and remodel care pathways, enabling the safe, effective sharing of their advanced skills and knowledge across traditional professional boundaries (HEE, 2022). The NHS Long Term Plan (NHS England/NHS Improvement, 2019a) highlighted that ACPs are central to transforming service delivery to meet the needs of local populations by providing enhanced capacity, capability, productivity and efficiency within multidisciplinary teams.
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