Congratulations to all who have received offers from the Graduate Scheme!
My fifth ‘P’ blog of the year is on Patients. I currently work at Kings College Hospital, a major Trauma Acute Trust that offers specialist services. I work within the specialist service called Liver and Renal, with Liver covering both Surgical and Medical work, and Renal covering mainly Medical patients. As part of your development on the scheme you have to demonstrate you put patients at the heart of everything you do (this is part of the competence framework you have to sign off). In addition, as part of your educational requirements on the scheme, there is a significant focus on patient involvement for both your practical tasks and assignments.
If I am honest, I have struggled to be involved with patients. Taking up an operations role at my Trust has meant that I am pulled by different priorities. For example, my priorities are pulled by a drive to improve processes to meet cancer targets or working on data to support business cases. As I near the end of this placement I realise that I should have spent more time focusing on patients and involving them in decisions. In order to do this I have asked the Renal Service Manager to involve me with more patients as I want to be more exposed and connecting with patients. To give some context, most Renal patients at Kings have Kidney Disease and so are on dialysis for the rest of their lives. So in order to improve my patient involvement I have been working closely with a few patients regarding some complaints they have had about dialysis and how I can improve their lifelong experiences for them.
Working closely with these patients has meant I have learnt how to respectfully ask patients for information, how to make sure that I value what they suggest and be mindful not to promise anything that I cannot deliver on. The Renal Service Manager has supported me in these conversations with role play and has given me tips so that I can deal with disgruntled patients. I am also gaining patient feedback for the outpatient transformation project I am working on, so that I can use patient feedback to define how we offer our service.
Reflecting on the nine months I have been on the scheme already, I have learnt a lot about the background operational processes but need to be more involved with patients. Taking action to meet your competences is based on you alone, and so you have to make that decision.