A ward clerk who spends time supporting patients with dementia and a senior sister who manages memorial services for bereaved families are the winners of April’s You Made a Difference awards.
Aija Kalnina joined the team on C6 (department of medicine for the elderly) in October as a ward clerk. This is her first role within a healthcare setting and her team say that since her first day she has really settled in, regularly going above and beyond for both patients and colleagues. As ward clerk she is a vital part of the team and the first point of contact for patients and visitors. Aija also organises patient transport and assists patients in completing the inpatient IPAD surveys, ensuring an efficient discharge process.
Aija has also taken an active interest in dementia care, taking on a dementia link role. When she has a spare moment, you will often find Aija talking to patients, holding their hand and reassuring them while reminiscing on years gone by. She acts as an advocate for the patients on the ward, whether that is escalating concerns to the medical team, organising for the PAT dogs to come to the ward or speaking to the chaplaincy. Aija really reflects the Trust values as she is a positive, kind individual who goes out of her way to make the patient experience the best it can be.
This is reflected in her winning nomination, which read: ‘Since her first day Aija has continued to impress me. She is always happy to help and nothing is too big a task. She is a real advocate for our patients on the ward, whether it is encouraging patients to attend reminiscence sessions or calling volunteer services to arrange a PAT dog visit for a patient feeling lonely. Aija is always enthusiastic and positive, welcoming all visitors and patients to the ward in a friendly and approachable manner; which sets the tone of C6. As a team we value her hard work and she supports us all, from consultants and the medical team to the nursing and catering staff. Thank you Aija for your continued hard work.’
Elaine Jack joined the Trust in 2008, originally working on the Intermediate Dependency Area and moving to the John Farman intensive care unit (JVF ICU) in 2011. She is a compassionate, caring and thoughtful nurse who quietly and unassumingly works on projects and ideas, involving and developing the team. Elaine became senior sister in 2017 and is a popular, hardworking leader who promotes teamwork and high quality patient care whilst always being supportive and approachable.
Elaine started to help with the running of the critical care memorial service in 2017 and since summer 2018 has been leading and organising the service. Thanks to Elaine, the memorial service has continued to develop and is now going from strength to strength with multidisciplinary staff from all three units regularly involved. Extra thoughtful touches, such as candles for relatives to take away and a remembrance tree to hang a message on, have been very well received and relatives have made some lovely comments. The extended time that relatives spend having tea and cake with staff after the service shows how valuable it is, as well as the feedback from staff who appreciate the opportunity to hear how families are coping and talking about their time in critical care.
Her winning nomination read: ‘Elaine took over coordination of the critical care memorial services in late 2018 and continues to do so in her own time. The services are for bereaved friends and families of patients who die on the JVF ICU, Neurosciences Critical Care Unit or the Intermediate Dependency Area in the preceding six to nine months. The non-religious services are held three times a year in the Trust chapel and over 100 people attended the last two services. Each service Elaine manages to introduce another 'small' thing to make the day even better, recent additions have been a memorial tree and candle holders. Elaine cuts out individual cardboard hearts for each family which they can write a message on for their loved one and hang it on the tree, each family is also given a candle and candle holder to take home. These may seem like small tokens, but they are hugely appreciated by the families who attend. Elaine obtained funding for this from a local independent company who heard of the work she was doing for the bereaved families. Although the services are emotional they are also an opportunity for families to re-connect with staff and say thank you. For the bereaved families and staff who attend, the services really do make a difference. Thank you Elaine.’