Naomi Phillips and Sara Collingridge
The adult surgical unit at Harefield Hospital consists of 45 beds divided into two areas – Cedar and Maple wards. Cedar ward has 25 beds and Maple ward has 15 beds, as well as five high-dependency beds.
The staff on the unit care for patients requiring surgery for differing types of heart and lung conditions. Wards offer separate male and female accommodation and bathing areas are segregated. A few single rooms are available and are allocated on clinical need.
The unit has both thoracic and cardiac advanced nurse practitioners to enhance nursing practice and monitor standards of care. In addition, there is an outreach critical care team who support the surgical unit with the management of patients with complex problems.
In our high-dependency area, nurse staffing-to-patient numbers are higher as it is for patients who require more care and observation than is usually available in a ward. This can be immediately after major surgery, at any time a patient becomes unwell or after leaving the intensive care unit.
This Trust has a strong commitment to personal and professional development; all staff are allocated a mentor and supported in teams. There is a teaching and development sister who works alongside staff. The surgical unit team also supports pre- and post-registration students and has strong links to the local university. As a nurse on the adult surgical unit, the in-service training will enable you to expand and develop your skills in high-dependency nursing, cannulation, venepuncture, CPAP, epidurals and other related disciplines. Individual development is assessed through competencies, development plans and annual appraisal.
Ward nurses can gain experience on rotation on the high-dependency area to build on skills and develop expertise.
Other continuing education opportunities include in-house study days, postgraduate specialty courses accessed through the local university, and bursary applications to attend conferences. Degree pathways and leadership development are encouraged.