Maureen Flynn, director of nursing, HSE National Quality Improvement Team.
I generally drive to work at Dr Steevens’ Hospital, a beautiful historic building opposite Heuston Station. It’s a pleasant commute by Sandymount Strand with a view of Howth Head. This time of year the schools are out and traffic is reasonably light.
Monday mornings start with a “huddle” where members of the team come together briefly to review what took place last week and plan for the week ahead. It’s short and sweet and a very efficient way to keep people connected. Everyone benefits from the feedback and the updates.
I review emails and follow up with “thank-you” messages to colleagues who were involved in the recent launch of an independent evaluation of Schwartz Rounds in Ireland.
Schwartz Rounds evolved from the experience of Boston attorney Ken Schwartz who developed terminal cancer and a keen understanding of the importance to patients of compassionate healthcare.
The concept of the Schwartz Round is really taking off in Ireland and the recent evaluation looked at how it was faring in two out of 25 sites that have signed up.
I grab a coffee before heading for Palmerstown where I am part of a team evaluating a national quality improvement project. I conduct an in-depth interview with a colleague who was one of the project participants.
I grab lunch before heading back to Dr Steeven’s. Once a month at lunchtime or at a breakfast meeting we have the opportunity to join Schwartz Rounds being provided across the county.
Rounds are very carefully planned and based on story-telling — a great Irish tradition. A theme is chosen in advance and three staff members each have a five-minute slot to deliver their story to an audience, followed by a facilitated discussion. It’s a great leveller because the stories highlight people’s vulnerabilities regardless of their role in the organisation, and also the resilience required to work in healthcare. It’s an opportunity for staff to reflect on the emotional aspects of their work.
Much of the afternoon is taken up with telephone calls, planning Twitter, network and web developments.
I love the bright evenings and I’m keen to get a walk in as I am part of the Healthy Ireland step challenge with 20 colleagues. We aim to fit in 10,000 steps per day.