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NATIONAL AWARD FOR MENTAL HEALTH NURSES

October 16, 2006 4:36 PM

Two mental health nurses were part of a team which won the national Scottish Evidence into Practice award for their work in improving how mental health patients who receive medicine are identified.

Practice Development Nurses Stephen McGinness, Margaret Aitken and colleagues were awarded the top prize in the Safe and Effective Practice category.

Stephen, who is based at Dykebar Hospital in Paisley and works throughout the Clyde area, said: " We and other colleagues developed a way to make it easier for mental health patients who receive medication to be more easily identified by staff. It has been a real team effort and a pleasure to receive the award for all the team.

"We did a bit of research into how these patients are identified on wards. What normally happens in a general hospital is that patients with allergies, for example, are given a wristband so that staff know about their condition. This doesn't work for mental health services as our patients don't always stay in hospital and won't want to wear the band whilst away from our healthcare sites.

"The new system we devised is really simple: we take photos of patients - with their permission - and attach it to their medicine prescription sheet. Prescribing staff can then look at the photograph and identify the patients clearly. It minimises the chances further of misidentification. We have also identified the potential of having nursing assistants involved in the administration of medicines as a further checking mechanism for the registered nurse dispensing the medicines."

Stephen revealed that the system had only been used within mental health services in the Paisley and Inverclyde areas and he and Margaret, who is based at Ravenscraig Hospital and works in elderly mental health services, will use their £10,000 prize money to roll it out to mental health colleagues across Greater Glasgow.

He said: "We're planning to spend the prize money on buying new equipment such as more digital cameras and in training staff in the new system."

Stephen and Margaret were presented with their prize by Health Minister, Andy Kerr at the NT Live conference in September.

ENDS

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