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You Made a Difference - January 2019

A medical secretary who was instrumental in improving the service her team provides to patients, and a neurology clinical nurse specialist who worked to create a new specialist nursing role within her department are January’s You Made a Difference award winners.

Kathryn Marsh is sat down wearing a blue dress and a white scarf wrapped around her smiling at the camera.
Kathryn Marsh

Kathryn Marsh initially joined the Trust’s neurosurgery team as a medical secretary in June 2012.

With the introduction of EPIC (the electronic patient records system), Kathryn became the departmental super user, attended meetings and provided advice and reassurance at an unsettling time.

In addition, Kathryn has been working in a very challenging environment with the scoliosis team over the last few months, not only continuing with her own workload but also supporting and mentoring a new member of staff. Throughout all this, Kathryn continues to implement and improve a pre-op planning process which provides accurate information regarding surgery dates and allows improved patient communication. She provides continuity for both the team and patients alike, as well as being a great friend to her colleagues.

This is reflected in the winning nomination; an extract of which read:

‘The scoliosis service is busy, demanding and expanding. The service involves complex, high risk surgery and, at times, challenging families and patients. It involves the co-ordination of many specialities including surgery, anaesthetics, physiotherapy and paediatrics. With recent staffing issues, Kathryn has had to work beyond her own role to facilitate the continued smooth running of the service.  She has remained the cornerstone of the service.' 

‘Kathryn is always courteous and understanding with patients, their families and her colleagues. She continues to mentor the new members of the team, doing so in a supportive and approachable manner.  Kathryn has been instrumental in suggesting and facilitating the improvements in the service and I have no hesitation in putting Kathryn forward for this award to give her the well-deserved recognition for all her hard work.’

The specific action that has 'made a difference' is the implementation of a new pre-op planning process which provides a detailed update of patients’ progress in the system to the whole team.

Harri Parsons is sat next to a hospital bed smiling and talking to a young female patient.
Harri Parsons

Harriet Parsons (known as Harri) is a neurology clinical nurse specialist who joined the Trust in 1995, originally as a staff nurse on neurology ward A4.

In 2001, she identified that there may be a role to complement the neurology team and she helped to develop the neurology clinical nurse specialist role, in collaboration with the senior nurse and head of neurology.

Harri’s role involves working closely with both the neurology medical teams and nursing teams, supporting patients and families through difficult times, facilitating complex discharges and providing education and training to all staff.

She enjoys the challenges of her patients, seeing the career progression of the staff she works with and all the teams she interacts with.

Harri’s colleagues would describe her as knowledgeable, approachable and a member of staff who goes above and beyond at all times with a great sense of humour.

Harri received three winning nominations; extracts of which told us:

‘Harri is the linchpin of the neurology inpatient service. She is endlessly helpful in ensuring that neurology patients get prompt access to investigations, facilitating very complex discharges, and supporting patients and families at often very difficult times.’ 

Harri is an excellent nurse specialist and fantastically supportive to all the junior doctors in neurology. She always goes the extra mile in helping patients and is a star member of the team. She often troubleshoots problems before they happen and her experience as a neurology specialist nurse is invaluable to both patients and the clinical team.’ 

Most importantly she always has a smile!  I feel like it is about time that we said a huge thank you to Harri for all her help, week after week, year after year.