Learning to Lead…

…The Road to Successful Documentation Consolidation

Wow!  How lucky am I to be accepted to be a NES AHP Careers Fellow!

However, I can safely say this was not my first reaction in November 2018 when I was notified that my application for a NES AHP Careers Fellowship had been accepted.  I think they were more along the lines of shock, fear and then eventually excitement.

I didn’t even know if I was eligible because I’m not a registered AHP but the scheme is open to AHP staff, including AHP Support Officers, Support Workers and Assistant Practitioners so I went ahead and applied.

What project I hear you say….

….Consolidating and rationalising AHP patient documentation across 3 localities within NHS Tayside in preparation for electronic patient records. Yes, I know, what a task!

I was approached as AHP Support Officer within the AHP Directorate of NHS Tayside to see if I could assist with taking this work forward, I knew this wasn’t something I would be able to do in addition to my day job, therefore it was suggested that it might be worthwhile applying for a career fellowship. So I did…

…..and here we are, 6 months later…

This project has certainly been a learning curve for me, from getting a better understanding of the Allied Health Professions and their patient documentation, to most of all, the complexities of taking such a project forward.

I had started with a plan as to how to work through each profession, although in my fellowship application I had intimated I would complete 3 professions, Arts Therapy, Music Therapy and Podiatry, I always hoped that I could do more.  So, back to the plan, 12 professions in one year, 3 professions approximately every 3-4 months, no problem I thought.  6 months later and I have still not managed to fully complete one profession, due to various complexities, but also sometimes things just don’t go to plan.

The process for taking this work forward was to request all patient identifiable documentation from each profession, scan for any duplication or variation, feeding back recommendations as to findings and formatting of documentation, seeking agreement of final documentation which meets HCPC requirements, ready for approval by the Health Records Committee.  This in turn would give us an approved standardised patient record for each profession with a THB (Tayside Health Board) number on each document, which would become a stipulation on the AHP Record Audit, ensuring no records could be used, either paper or electronic, if they were not THB approved, meeting organisational standards.

I am currently sitting with my original 3 professions nearly finalised, just waiting to go for approval.  This is a great achievement and working through these professions has given me insight into the best way to take the other professions forward.  Work has started on others, with Occupational Therapy (OT) being brought to the fore because of a move towards an electronic patient record within some of their departments.  Initially I thought it would be best to keep the larger professions, such as OT, to later in the project once a rigorous process had been established, however as it turns out this has been a blessing due to the complexities of this service. If we can get a standardised patient record for Occupational Therapy, I am sure we can do it for any profession!

However, none of this would have been possible if it hadn’t been for the NES AHP Careers Fellowship, this has been a great opportunity to allow me to take this work forward but also for my personal development. I have learnt so much since starting in January, not only from taking the work forward, but also from the support received from NES and the thought-provoking workshops provided so far. Meeting the other fellows and receiving much needed support and encouragement has also been a great asset.

My thoughts now on being accepted to become a NES AHP Careers Fellow… I am so lucky and grateful for this opportunity!  Thank you!

Wendy PicAuthor Details:

Wendy Meldrum, AHP Support Officer, NHS Tayside

e-mail: wendy.meldrum@nhs.net

Twitter: @wmeldrum74

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