The role of healthcare assistants involves proving patients with safe care, providing them with support, furnishing them with the right information as well as giving them reassurance. There are instances when patients are uncomfortable and wish to make a complaint, the first step is documenting the complaint in the patient’s record appropriately. Objective documentation is crucial as it helps in increasing chances of positive outcome for the healthcare assistant. The next step is to inform the nursing supervisor highlighting the statements made by the parents so that necessary steps are taken in order to solve the issues (Ward 2008). Informing the nursing supervisor helps in resolving the issues that the parents have and minimizes chances of a potential litigation. Since complaints are in most cases in the form of threats that make health assistant uncomfortable dealing with the patient further, the nursing supervisor may find it reasonable to change the health assistant’s assignment on that particular patient.
Effective communication in all stages of the operation process is crucial not only for improving the safety of the patient but also to avoid surgical complications(Pettinari & Pettinari 1988). Lack of good communication between the surgical team and their patient contributes to the surgical complications. Surgeons and nurses interchangeably use verbal, non-verbal and visual modes of communication in the operating room. Non-verbal communication such as patient’s change in the body position play a crucial role in operating room. Sometimes non-verbal communication makes more meaning in operating roomthan what language can accomplish. The surgical team stand facing each other in order to communicate both verbally and non-verbally. Multimodal communication is an emerging mode in the operating room where the surgical team focus on a meditated body image of the patient as recorded in a laparoscope and displayed on the screen. The laparoscopic device has gained popularity and poses new challenges and opportunities for visual communication in the operating room. Surgeons do not have to traditionally look at the patiently directly in the face in order to draw meaning. Verbal, visual and non-verbal modes of communicant reinforce each other and enables the surgical team to effectively perform their surgical function.Improved technology in healthcare settings is important to enhance good communication at all levels.
Background noise whether music, noisy surgical team or loud equipment in the operating room are common barriers to communication in the surgical room according to Nestel & Kidd (2006). The presence of noise in the operating room reduces significantly speech comprehension and which may lead to surgical complications.Music for instance, decreases the surgical team’s ability to comprehend what is spoken in the operating room. Background noise makes it extremely difficult to capture critical information from either the patient or a member of the surgical team. To overcome this barrier, it is important to turn off the music as well as limiting conversations in the operating room that result in communication errors and consequently surgical mistakes. Introduction of new technology in the operating rooms is another communication barrier(Nestel & Kidd 2006). The use of robots for instance affects the type and amount information that the surgical team requires in order to perform their surgical function. In order to overcome this barrier, changes in the surgical team communication are crucial in order to accommodate the new procedures, new technology as well as the altered responsibilities of the operating room personnel.
Accountability in the healthcare setting means possessing and exercising skills and knowledge necessary to undertake the support function(Great Britain 2011). Malpractices is a gross misconduct and implies lack of the right skills to perform professional responsibilities. In case of surgical complications, the support team in the operating room are held responsible because they law places the duty of care upon them. In order to support the work of surgical department and to reduce cases of surgical complications, hospitals are under obligation to furnish sufficient equipment for both treatment and diagnosis. Where the hospital fails to provide the proper equipment as well as safe products, the surgical team should abscond duty to avoid being held responsible in case of a surgical complication(Great Britain 2011).To be accountable as a support worker in the operating room means exercising the best practices, knowledge and skills in supporting the surgeons as they perform their surgical duties. Being accountable reduces chances of potential complaints or litigation.
In order to meet the increasing healthcare needs and the operating room demands, support workers must possess some core competencies. Competency according to Mullen & Thomas (2009)means having the right academic qualifications to carry out patient-centered health support. Competent surgical support workers must recognize and respect patient’s values, beliefs, differences as well as preferences. In the operating room, they must listen and communicate with patients as well as the surgeons in an effective way. They must adopt evidence-based practice in the surgical room by participating in research activities that seek to optimize health support (Mullen & Thomas 2009). Furthermore, competency in the surgical room involves applying quality improvement by implementing and understanding the basic safety precautions at the operating room. It also involve utilizing informatics in order to mitigate errors as well as providing support to the surgeons while applying information technology. Competency also enables the support workers in the operating room to collaborate with surgeons to ensure continuous care and support.
Francis enquiry or Cavendish report made two recommendations related to reducing complexities and following the footsteps of the best employers. The report recommended training, education and developing standards for regulation. The recommendations influence support workers in a number of ways; It helps in equipping the support works with the relevant skills to deliver quality support. The report provides healthcare staff with numerous practical guiding principles as well as human capital management guideline. Support workers benefit from the recommendations of this report by drawing useful toolkit to guide them as they perform their support work in various parts of the healthcare system (Hughes 2013). The report advocates for adequate training for all healthcare staff on virtually all areas affecting them. It highlights education and training as the fundamental aspects to improving delivery of healthcare to the patients. The adoption of these recommendations by the government has improved the manner in which support staff perform their duties. The inclusion of Cavendish report in the education curriculum for health professionals ensures that all health workers are equipped with the relevant skills to enable them deliver their mandates in the most effective way. The recommendations reduces the gap between the healthcare workers and the industry’s 21st century needs and demands.
Clinical risk according to Hester & Harrison (1998) is a discipline that focuses on improving the safety and quality of health services. It attempts to identify the opportunities and situations that expose the patients to risk. Clinical risk also acts in order to control or prevent the risks. Best practices is one of the clinical risk assessment that we undertake. We make decisions based on research, evidence and knowledge. We effectively combine research with expertise collaboratively in order to implement high standards of risk management. Positive risk management is another clinical risk assessment principle that we exercise. We make risk management decisions that aim at improving the quality of lives of ourpatients. Furthermore, we have a comprehensive risk management plan that takes into consideration safety of patients. The risk management plan accepts risk-related decisions that are documented, based on researched information and as well as conforming to the relevant guidelines. The two clinical risk assessments have helped us in managing risks across all areas in the clinic.
According to Mclean & Mason (2003), some of the legislations and regulations governing healthcare workersinclude;
- Work health and safety Act of 2011
- Work health and safety regulations of 2011
- Codes of practice regulations of 2010
- Consultation and representation regulations of 2010
The code of conduct states the conduct expected from healthcare workers. It highlights the attitudes and behavior that is expected from health support workers.The code of conduct helps the health support workers to provide clients with a compassionate and safe care according to Great Britain, NHS Wales, & NHS Executive (1999). One of the codes of conduct that makes me stand out in my health support career is accountability. I always ensure that I am answerable for my actions. I ensure that I am happy for the things I do as well as those that I don’t during my daily work. I can always justify my actions to the public, patients, my supervisor, and my employer. I ensure that I undertake only the responsibilities highlighted in the job description. I work on accountability to standards so that if I am asked to answer certain questions by my employer, the public or the patients, I will provide good answers. To ascertain that I am accountable enough, I always take part in continuous performance assessment program. Objectivity is another code of conduct that I practice to higher standards. I treat patients and everyone else with fairness. I believe in access to healthcare for all without bias on the basis sex, age, gender, race or beliefs. During my daily support activities, I promote gender and race equality and condemn discrimination of any kind. I understand that I owe the patients duty of care and so I do not allow personal feelings towards the public or patients to interfere with my standard of work. I maintain a professional relationship with patients, my employer, my supervisor and the general public.
Gibbs in his reflection model illustrates that people learn best from their own experiences. He argues that if people cannot reflect on their own experience so that they are unable to consciously think of how to do better the nest time, then it is extremely difficult for them to learn at all (Gibbs 1988). The reflective cycle helps people to make sense out of work situations. People are able to remember something they did well and where to improve in the future. A-seven year oldblack patient was admitted in the 20-bed children care ward a couple of years ago. It was during one of those night shifts and we were only four of us on duty, two nurses and two healthcare assistants. The child was not pleased by the admission and repeatedly said that he wanted to go home with his parents. She was the only child and the parents looked worried too. It was during winter with a lot of breeze. The parents wanted the child to spend the night in the ward as they were not certain about her condition. I sympathized with them and assured them of total care for their only child. I even gave them my phone number to contact if they needed to. During the night, I paid special attention to the kid like he was my child. I repeatedly assured the kind that he would be well the following day after injecting him. At first, the kid was very resistant but later we became friends. I remember giving the kid stories throughout the night to make him comfortable at the ward. The following day, the parents were very happy and appreciative of my support. This scenario made them build trust on our healthcare. This incident helped me to be compassionate and caring to all patients regardless of their race or gender.
Gibbs, G. 1988. Learning by doing: a guide to teaching and learning methods. Oxford, United Kingdom
Great Britain, NHS Wales, & NHS Executive. 1999. Code of conduct for Community Health Council members. [London?], Dept. of Health.
Great Britain. 2011. Enabling excellence: autonomy and accountability for healthcare workers, social workers and social care workers. London, TSO.
Hester, R. E., & Harrison, R. M. 1998. Risk assessment and risk management. Cambridge, UK, Royal Society of Chemistry. http://public.eblib.com/choice/publicfullrecord.aspx?p=3032070.
Hughes, R. 2013. After the Francis report, will the Cavendish review help? British Journal of Healthcare Assistants. 7, 112-115.
MClean, S., & Mason, J. K. 2003. Legal and ethical aspects of healthcare. London, Greenwich Medical Media. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511545542.
Mullen, C., & Thomas, J. 2009. End-of-life care: common core competencies. British Journal of Healthcare Assistants. 3, 490-492.
Nestel D, & Kidd J. 2006. Nurses’ perceptions and experiences of communication in the operating theatre: a focus group interview. BMC Nursing. 5.
Pettinari, C. J., & Pettinari, C. J. 1988. Task, talk, and text in the operating room: a study in medical discourse. Norwood, N.J., Ablex Pub. Corp.
Ward Platt, A. 2008. Conciliation in healthcare: managing and resolving complaints and conflict. Oxford, Radcliffe.