May 4, 2023

My month in Quality

Tessa Bruno is a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Ward 19 and in the Plastics Wound Clinic. She spends her days working on the floor, interacting with patients and their families, and providing safe, kind and together care to the community.

She recently completed a month-long secondment with Quality and Safety, where she took on the role of Acting Quality Coordinator, Surgical Division, while Erika Dax, stepped in as Acting Quality Coordinator, Women’s and Children’s Division, for six weeks.

In their roles, both Tessa and Erika were responsible for supporting staff in their respective divisions, which included educating on quality, reviewing incidents and being a resource for staff on the ward.

“A large component of our role is serious clinical incident management, review of systems, processes and event reporting,” Erika said.

“We also look for trends in minor incidents, and work with Nurse Unit Managers, Heads of Units and other leaders to identify opportunities to make our care safer for our patients and staff at Northern Health.”

“We are always evaluating what we are doing, understanding the effectiveness, and trying to improve.”

For Erika, stepping into the role to support the Women’s and Children’s Division was a challenge. But it was a challenge that Erika was up for.

“I am not a midwife, so that was a really big learning experience. But, it was a terrific experience with a great team and therefore it was really valuable,” she said.

“I was able to step in and provide lots of support and education, and make staff feel more comfortable with the quality components of their role, helping to improve safety in their areas for their staff and patients.”

“I learnt a lot about midwifery, clinically, that I did not know about. It was a privilege to be entrusted in the role for a period of time. It was very rewarding, a thoroughly enjoyable and a really positive challenge.”

For Tessa, coming from shift work and clinical work, and stepping into a non-clinical role, Monday to Friday, was an adjustment. But she was able to rely on her clinical knowledge and supportive colleagues to step up into her new acting role.

“The role definitely broadened my horizons. Nursing is so broad so it was great to see a side of things that we don’t usually get to see when we are on the floor,” she said.

“On the ward, we routinely do VHIMS/Riskmans, but we don’t actually see the outcomes of them once they have been submitted. Everything is reviewed, everything gets commented on and things that are more serious get put through a system where multiple people are involved in reviewing and making changes to prevent the incident from happening again in the future.”

“It was great to see that reporting doesn’t go unnoticed – there is actually something that happens.”

“I have learnt so much, which I am able to bring back to the ward and help other staff members with reporting and investigating incidents,” Tessa said.

“Definitely in the future, a non-clinical role would be great – but that would be later in my career. I have a little bit more hands-on clinical work to do in the next few years.”

Erika also encourages staff to step out of their comfort-zone and into a new role if an opportunity presents itself.

“It’s really important to support staff when there are opportunities to work across different areas, as it is such an invaluable experience. It is great to share knowledge and expertise, and see things from a different perspective. Both Divisions and Quality and Safety are richer for our experiences.”


Featured image: Tessa Bruno and Erika Dax.