A multidisciplinary approach to training anaesthetic nurses


A case study of improvements made to training of anaesthetic nurses in Stockport NHS Foundation Trust.

What was the problem?

Recruiting and retaining anaesthetic nurses is a chronic problem in the trust.

The short-term solution of appointing general nurses, enrolling them on an anaesthetic training course, while requiring them to continue their in-house training until completion, did not work well.

Enrolment could take one or two years, and some newly-appointed nurses had to work with little supervision in the meantime.

What was the solution?

A competency-based training pack with 21 modules, delivered over six months by the principal operating department practitioner (ODP), a consultant anaesthetist, and the multidisciplinary team (MDT).

Assessment includes case-based discussion, observation, shadowing, and simulation.

During the six months, each trainee has at least one meeting with their educational supervisor and three meetings with their two mentors, as well as induction meetings at the beginning and midway, with a penultimate meeting after five months to address any outstanding issues.

Trainees must pass all 21 modules, and are formally assessed by the course supervisor. If unsuccessful, the assessor will recommend further training or enrolment on the university course.

What were the challenges?

Changing the department's culture to ensure trainees received the necessary supervision.

What were the results?

In 18 months, the trust put five newly-appointed nurses through the training, with a pass rate of 100%.

Satisfaction with the training also reached 100%, in contrast to the previous training, with which 60% of nurses were dissatisfied.

When starting their first solo list of patients, all the nurses said they felt comfortable; previously, 40% had said they were uncomfortable.

Retention has improved: none of the trainees has left, saving £30,000 per month by reducing the need for bank and locum staff.

What were the learning points?

  • an MDT approach to learning ensures trainees gain valuable experience and expertise from across the department
  • delivering safe, supportive and evidence-based training improves staff wellbeing, through increased confidence
  • improved staff wellbeing and confidence improve retention
  • engendering a culture of continuous development and improvement is vital before implementing new training programmes
  • high levels of support and supervision throughout training improve confidence, competence and staff wellbeing

Next steps

The trust plans to continue using the training pack and to evaluate its impact.

Want to know more?

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