Nursing: the difference nurses make to patient outcomes


To mark International Nurses’ Day (12th May), the Harley Street Medical Area is spending the week celebrating the role of nurses. Today, Amanda Davieson, ward sister at The London Clinic, talks about her role and the impact it has on patient outcomes and safety

At the age of 18, while studying for my A-levels in rural Ireland, I had to go and live with my elderly grandmother. She had Alzheimer’s and could not be left unsupervised overnight. I was involved in all aspects of her personal care and really enjoyed it. It gave me great satisfaction to know that I could prevent her from being admitted to a hospital or nursing home. I think caring for people has always been in my blood – I’m really not sure what else I would be doing now if I hadn’t become a nurse. 

I started working at The London Clinic in January 1997. I worked here for a couple of years and then went off on a round-the-world trip. During this time, I worked in Sydney, Australia, in orthopaedics and spinal surgery. I came back to The London Clinic in 2001 and I have been here ever since.

Each day is so different. Nursing involves thinking on your feet and being ready for any eventuality. The morning handover is followed by the patients’ breakfast and the medication round. Our consultants visit at various times throughout the day, although most patients are admitted in the morning when they’re prepared for their surgery or other procedures.

Pre- and post-operative care and patient safety rounds ensue throughout the shift. I have to plan ahead for the night shift and provide adequate and safe staffing levels as well as looking ahead for the next 48 hours, to ensure shifts are covered with the correct number of staff providing the correct mixture of skills.

I meet with the bed manager in the morning to look at the day’s patient discharges and to plan and allocate beds for patients coming into the hospital. Throughout the day there is constant communication between the entire multi-disciplinary team in co-ordinating patient care and planning and preparing for safe patient discharge. During the day, patients are assisted with washing, dressing and feeding as required. Night staff typically arrive by 8pm for the night handover.

When you put on the uniform, you feel proud to work at The London Clinic, which is a registered charity. We have a fabulous reputation for patient care and people tend to work here for long periods of time – our staff retention rate is exceptional. This makes it feel like we’re all working together as one big family. As a result, we have exceptional patient feedback.

In orthopaedics and spinal surgery, we take great satisfaction in seeing our patients leaving hospital in a much more pain-free and stable condition than when they arrived. Their conditions, whether injuries, congenital or acquired disorders, have been treated and many of our surgeries produce life-changing results. It is heart-warming to see your patient leave the hospital with a new lease of life.

The quality of nursing care makes a vital difference to outcomes and safety at every step of the patient journey. Delivering nursing care that minimises risk and harm to a patient is paramount. We provide a holistic, patient-centred approach, which demands seamless care through effective teamwork with other professionals. Good outcomes for patients give us and the wider clinical team a sense of pride in our work.

My niece has just embarked on her nurse training. I have totally encouraged this. It is a rewarding and satisfying career. Yes, it has its ups and downs, but the camaraderie and friendships you make through nursing are made for life. It is a career that can be as diverse as you wish to make it and can allow you to travel.

Nurses make a real difference – you are quite literally saving lives. All I can say is, it gives me a great satisfaction and sense of achievement. I love the people I work with and I love my job.