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An interview with Nicole Lee – Burns Matron at Burns Service, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

The need for speed

Large institutions often find it difficult to react quickly. But there’s been a sea-change since the pandemic, not just in the way we think about how we work but in who should be involved in shaping the workplace. Burns Matron at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (ChelWest), Nicole Lee, had worked with ImproveWell at the NHS Nightingale Hospital, London, so knew what impact it could have in her new position…

“The reason I brought ImproveWell into our service at the Burns Unit was being able to offer my staff opportunities to be engaged and to be part of the process of creating and supporting change to make the service fit all of us,” Nicole reveals. “At the Nightingale, we learnt the process of being able to make quick-pace change in relation to issues that were happening on the shop floor – things that needed to be escalated quickly.” The answer was ImproveWell’s 24/7 feedback loop for continuous learning and improvement.

Having worked across three different trusts over the last 18 years, Nicole had witnessed the difficulties of introducing change and making it stick. What’s key is diminishing the resistance to change. With the help of ImproveWell, this becomes much easier because the change comes from those in the know, the frontline workers.


An added ingredient

“As part of the NHS Nightingale London hospital, we allowed patients to feed into the system, too. And that brings a whole different ball game to your service.” Current practice is to ask people’s opinion when they’re leaving – but “they’re always happy because they’re leaving” Nicole helpfully points out. “I wanted to get the nitty gritty about how people felt about my service to see what was going on. That patient feedback has been really interesting and great for improving patients’ experience within the unit.” The team sought to collect real-time feedback throughout the patients’ entire stay, enabling prompt responsiveness and improved patient experiences.


Increasing the reach

The Units’ reach is vast, covering the whole of London out to the M25. “We’re like a mini hospital in a hospital,” says Nicole. “Which means I’ve got a big team and lots of things to think about when it comes to running our service and making sure that we’re giving all our staff the chance to feed back.”

Nicole acknowledges that some people just aren’t computer savvy. Whilst younger workers are happy to feedback on their phones, others feel more comfortable sharing their ideas in a weekly meeting. Their thoughts then get fed into the ImproveWell system. As well as feeling listened to, staff have been buoyed by seeing suggestions acted upon almost immediately. “We’re eight months in and there have been lots of improvement ideas fed into the system, from staff and patients. Eighty percent of suggestions tend to be quick fixes… the team has really come together and has been able to improve the service we offer our patients – it’s really shown that the patient experience has improved.”


And the result is…

The percentage of staff feeling comfortable sharing ideas increased from 57% to 91%, while those who felt their ideas were heard rose from 57% to 72%. But it’s not just about boosting staff morale. With 74 improvement ideas submitted in the first eight months, potential financial savings of up to £143,930 and time savings of up to £20,128 have been identified. Approximately 55% of these ideas have already been implemented, including an idea related to stock checking and standard operating procedures that could save some £50,489 per year.

But that’s just the start, as Nicole explains. “Now we’re at a point where the staff are really thinking about what they’re submitting into the ImproveWell app. They are really engaging, and we’re getting more in-depth ideas coming through which are enabling us to make huge changes.”


Connect with Nicole Lee on Twitter

Discover more about the Burns service at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust


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