Throughout 2017 members of staff from across the Hospice are writing blogs about their roles and how they help to support patients and families.
In this edition, Vicky Hill writes about her role as the Hospice’s clinical governance coordinator.
Click here to read blogs from other members of staff from fundraising, stewards, chief executive, domestic staff and more!
How long have you worked at the Hospice?
I have been part of the hospice team for nearly 17 years starting in 2000 as a staff nurse in the inpatient unit. In 2005 I started working as the clinical audit and effectiveness facilitator which was a new post at the Hospice. My role has recently been reviewed, and in 2015 I became the clinical governance coordinator – again another brand new post for St Columba’s Hospice!
Tell us about your role as the clinical governance coordinator
I manage the clinical governance and clinical administration team. Clinical governance is the assurance that the care and services we provide in the Hospice is safe, effective and person-centred. We are committed to continually improving the quality of services we provide to meet the needs of everyone using our services.
My role, along with the clinical governance staff nurse, is to support the Hospice’s teams in reviewing practice and considering best standards to identify where we are performing well, but also to find out where improvements can be made. We also work closely with the practice development team and we are often involved in developing, teaching and supporting new initiatives.
The clinical administration team provides vital support to our clinical staff. They ensure that health and social care professionals working in the community, or within hospitals, have information about what has happened when you have been cared for at the Hospice. They also have a key role in supporting the development of reporting on our Hospice activity to our funders and regulatory bodies.
In addition to employees, we are privileged to have a team of dedicated volunteers working on different projects. They are a crucial part of the team who bring a wealth of experience and energy and we could not achieve what we do without their support.
How does your role help patients and families?
Everything about being a clinical governance coordinator and the work of the clinical governance and clinical administration team is about supporting patients and families. Our role is to support the development of safe effective working practices by reviewing current standards and supporting new initiatives. We support the clinical teams to achieve this by creating policies and risk assessments, reviewing practice through audit and the development of effective administrative and communication systems.
I also had the wonderful opportunity to work with patients, families, staff and volunteers in developing and delivering, the Hospice’s Care & Compassion Matters strategy. Central to the strategy is how we continue to develop and improve care and services for patients and families.
What would surprise people about being a clinical governance coordinator?
People have asked me ‘don’t you miss being a nurse?’. Whilst my role is different to what many people would traditionally think a nurse would do, I still very much see myself as a nurse and part of the clinical team as well as the wider Hospice team. When I reflect on why I wanted to be a nurse, it was to support people and ensure that their experience was as positive as it could be. This is also fundamental within my clinical governance role. As a team we share a common aim which is to care and provide support for patients and families. All staff can positively impact on the patient and family experiences and we all do this in different ways.
What is it like working at the Hospice?
The Hospice is a really special place to work. In the last 17 years I have seen many changes within the delivery of specialist palliative care, the development of our clinical services, the Hospice’s teams and buildings. Whilst changes have been consistent over the years, what has remained is the importance of the patient and family being at the centre of everything we do.
Over this time I have had the privilege of meeting the most wonderful people – people who access our services for care, support and information; people who work at the Hospice and who want to make a difference; and people who generously give their time, their talents and their energy on a voluntary basis. They are all unique individuals who contribute in different ways to make the Hospice the wonderful place that it is.
What do you like doing in your own time?
I am a real foodie and love to try new restaurants or a new culinary creation at home. I have a sweet tooth and love cake so I enjoy meeting up with friends for a good natter and to sample the vast array of cakes on offer in Edinburgh’s coffee shops! I love to walk and I am currently building up the steps in preparation for the Edinburgh Kiltwalk in September. My family time is what I value the most – whether it is visiting family in Edinburgh and Glasgow or time relaxing with my husband and teenage children at home. Not all family activities are as relaxing as, at weekends, I can be found shouting encouragement at hockey matches – from the sidelines of course!
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Did you know that you can help shape the services that the hospice deliver? Side by Side is the Hospice’s participation strategy and aims to increase the voice of everyone. Your feedback about your experiences is such an important way in which the Hospice can assess, improve and develop all aspects of our services. We very much encourage feedback from our patients and families but also from our staff, volunteers and members of the public. You can give feedback in person to any member of staff, fill in a comments card which are situated throughout the Hospice building, available from your community nurse or available on our website here. If you have any feedback about your experience, thoughts, ideas or suggestions please let us know – we look forward very much to hearing from you.