Critical Care Practice Education

Emmie Baker-Larner’s role as a Practice Educator for Critical Care at The County involves providing education and training to staff in the department and also to staff who have redeployed from other areas to help in Critical Care during the pandemic.
Emmie tells us about her role in the Trust’s response to Covid-19 and gives a shout out to the amazing staff who are currently redeployed to the department…
Can you explain a bit about your/the team’s role, what it usually involves and where you’re based?
I’m a Practice Educator in General & Neurosurgical Critical Care at Royal Sussex County Hospital (RSCH). My role is basically a teaching role within the Critical Care Unit – I’m an experienced Intensive Care Unit sister who has responsibility for the teaching, assessment, coaching and supervision of nursing staff. This includes new nurses in ICU, staff on their Degree or Masters ICU programme, student nurses and nursing staff on various in-house training programmes.
Myself and my PE colleagues are also responsible for the strategic planning of ICU nursing education within BSUH in order to meet our service demands and the needs of the nursing team for the 3Ts development. I also participate in Multidisciplinary teaching within the Critical Care Unit.
I work in the clinical area, full-time and also provide bedside nursing care for patients.
How has your role/the team had to change in recent weeks?
I have had to pause some of my ‘normal’ duties, such as clinical coaching and teaching during the preparation for and start of the COVID-19 period. This has been so that I could take part in the teaching programmes for non-ICU staff in preparation for them managing ICU patients. I have worked with my PE colleagues across the Trust in order to do this. Our team has also changed the pattern of shifts that we work, in order to cover the Critical Care Unit 7 days a week (we normally work Monday-Friday) so that we can be available across all the Critical Care areas to support the staff working at the bedside.
How have you found the change? What has been challenging?
Generally, it hasn’t been too much of an issue: it’s been a challenge to support non-ICU staff, to help them feel settled and safe, to make them feel welcomed and to ensure that the ICU staff are able to support them on a day-to-day basis. This period has been very tiring – having to work very flexibly and not knowing each day what you might need to do requires you to be pretty resilient!
What achievements are you/the team most proud of?
I’m really proud of the work we did to create some ‘flashcards for non-ICU staff’ – these were designed to help our redeployed staff get used to typical ICU interventions and care, but also to make it very clear to them (and our ICU staff) what their scope of practice was, so that they always knew what was expected of them.
We have worked really well as a team between the 4 of us – making sure each ICU area was supported, making sure we covered the whole week and that we made a special point of meeting each redeployed nurse, to say hello and to give them some face-to-face teaching and support. The ICU team has a whole has really worked hard to support patients, their families and each other during the COVID-19 period – I think we’ve done a great job under really difficult circumstances and despite all the understandable anxiety caused by the pandemic.
I wanted to say that all the staff who have been redeployed in to Critical Care have been AMAZING! They have really worked hard, really got stuck in and risen to this huge challenge. They have been so supportive of us and it’s so appreciated.
Also, the staff and parents at Brighton College have been outstanding! Their ‘care packages’, food deliveries and snack bags have been brilliant – staff have felt very cared for!