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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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Leadership and culture at heart of Trust ward

06/08/2019
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Five staff nurses now based at the Horton General Hospital were so inspired by their experiences as trainees on placement there that they jumped at the opportunity to re-join permanently.

The group gained valuable experience on Juniper Ward, and when they graduated as registered nurses they returned to the ward on a full time basis.

Juniper Ward is a 30-bed general medical ward, with mainly elderly patients and around 50 staff members.

One of the nurses to train on Juniper Ward is Rhoda Sharawakanda. Rhoda really enjoyed her three month placement in 2018, which made it an easy decision to join the team permanently as a staff nurse in November of that year.

She said: “Working on Juniper Ward has been fantastic since I walked through the door as a trainee.

"My colleagues were amazing. When I first started as a trainee I didn't know anyone and I felt so nervous. But from day one I've felt like I've been here for a long time. Everyone was so welcoming, and the teamwork and culture has stood out to me. We are like friends now.

"It makes me feel really good to know our patients are so well looked after - we often receive positive feedback from patients and their families and friends."

The Trust's aim is to make our hospitals a place where people are proud and excited to work, where teams and individuals are trusted with responsibility and are accountable for what they do, and where the development and care of our people is recognised as being as important as the care of our patients.

Debbie McDowell, who started at the Horton in September 2017 following a placement in 2015, was also inspired by her trainee experience.

She said: "What I loved was the teamwork, effective communication and excellent support. After my placement I said 'I'd come here for nothing' because I enjoyed and learned so much from everybody that I worked with during that period.

"It's been more of the same since I started permanently. Being an older student, my confidence took a bit longer to develop compared to younger nurses, but that was acknowledged by the team who helped me settle in.

For Alison Vannozzi (Ali), Senior Sister on Juniper Ward, personal and professional support, a safe working environment and effective communication are the three pillars to constructing a positive and proactive working environment for students.

She said: "The amount of support students get, and their safety on the wards, is so important. Communication is essential to good teamwork for any workforce - I've got an excellent workforce; they have a really good team work ethic, and they all support one another. They amaze me.

"The Horton is a very friendly place to work and we make a huge difference every day."

Pictured: former trainees and now Staff Nurses on Juniper Ward, Debbie McDowell and Rhoda Sharawakanda (left and right, respectively), and Juniper Ward Senior Sister Alison Vannozzi (centre).

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