Building a quality workforce

We all know that recruiting and retaining high quality, skilled staff is a constant challenge in healthcare. Maintaining a stable and experienced team is central to providing an outstanding experience for doctors and great outcomes for patients.

To address this challenge, Bondi Junction Private Hospital (BJPH) has this year piloted two in-house training programs that identify talented existing staff and new graduates and develop their skills in specialist areas.

The first of these was designed for registered nurses, to up-skill existing staff with a special interest in Ophthalmology. The program was led by BJPH Ophthalmology CNS, Sharni Brown, who has over 15 years’ experience in all ophthalmic sub-specialties and has achieved a master’s degree in ophthalmic nursing. Sharni’s challenge was to develop a comprehensive program, providing staff with both didactic and clinical training in a digestible format.

The end product was a one-day intensive event, with the program including:

  • A lecture on the anatomy & physiology of the eye;
  • The operational procedures for all ophthalmology equipment including the Zeiss microscope, Zeiss Callisto and Alcon Centurion;
  • Hands on practical experience in learning to load an intraocular lens in a wet lab mimicking the operating theatre environment; and
  • A lecture by anaesthetist Dr Alfred Chua on ophthalmology specific anaesthetic techniques, including associated risks and pre- and post-operative care.

Representatives from Alcon, Zeiss, Insight Surgical and Designs for Vision supported the training session by providing practical advice and demonstrations. Due to the overwhelmingly positive feedback from BJPH surgeons and staff, a second event enabled nurses from National Day Surgery Sydney to also attend and benefit.

At the same time, BJPH commenced a clinical training program for newly registered nurses interested in learning more about perioperative nursing in the fields of Plastic and Reconstructive, ENT and Cosmetic surgery. This program has been coordinated by Julius Tolentino, CNS for Plastics/ENT/Cosmetic Surgery, and specifically focuses on how to scrub and scout for these specialties and post-operative care.

Both Sharni & Julius are committed to providing ongoing staff education and holding regular education events to ensure staff engagement remains high, and new techniques can be introduced in a planned fashion. Not only does BJPH now have three fully trained ophthalmic scrub nurses, there has also been a noticeable improvement in job satisfaction and operational efficiency. Importantly, the programs have delivered a broader knowledge base, flexibility in the workforce and improved patient outcomes – a result that has understandably delivered marked improvement in patient, staff and surgeon experience.

Nexus is very excited by the success of these programs, which are poised to address the dual requirements of providing staff with training and development opportunities and addressing an industry shortage of nursing staff.