A career-saving 87 minutes for NHS nurses

• Pharmacy innovation saves 87 minutes a day for NHS nurses.

• Nurses report a better working environment and more time for patient care.

• These findings come as nurse vacancies reach worrying highs due to poor work-life balance.

• 40,000 vacancies are currently unfilled, with warnings that this could reach 100,000 in 10 years.

PillTime’s innovative operation saves nursing staff 87 minutes a day in revolutionary NHS trial. This time saving is unprecedented. Nurses reported more free time to deliver better patient care. Nurses also reported a calmer working environment and more manageable workloads.

NHS nurses are crying out for more support. The Chief of the Royal College of Nursing says, “Nursing staff experience high levels of stress, a shortage of colleagues and long working hours.”

Nurse shortages reach alarming highs as the Health Foundation reports that more nurses than ever are leaving the profession due to poor work-life balance.

Nurse time is usually monopolised by medicine rounds. With up to four rounds per day and dozens of patients to care for, rounds can become unmanageable and potentially unsafe. A daunting task for new staff, in particular, nurse Shannon Leigh of Salford Royal Foundation Trust tells us that rounds often take nurses up to two hours each when they first qualify.

The PillTime innovation

PillTime is a digital pharmacy that uses the latest robotic technology to make medication management simpler and safer. Medication doses are dispensed into pouches by robots and checked with optical recognition technology.

PillTime first partnered with Salford Royal Foundation Trust last Summer. The project saw hospital staff working with the PillTime pouches to patients on ward. Instead of organising doses from multiple boxes, nurses simply administered a single PillTime pouch per resident, per round. Each pouch was checked optically, to give nurses full assurance in medication accuracy.

The benefits of PillTime pouches to NHS nurses

This project saved each nurse an average of 87 minutes a day. With medication rounds featuring so prominently in a nurse’s daily workload, the PillTime method brought numerous benefits to both patient and nurse.

The patients’ details are displayed clearly on every pouch. This improved the speed and accuracy of identity checks. Nurse Earl Thomas reports:

“The descriptions on the pouches for all medication makes for simpler and faster administration. This also increases patient safety when cross-referencing with our EPR system allowing for safer administration.”

Thomas also noted the benefit of having doses robotically sorted. Nurse ownership of dose sorting was removed; thus removing the risk of human error and allowing nurses more time to deliver personalised patient care;

“The time saving has also allowed to provide advice to patients on medication usage and also more personal engagement with them.”

Often working in stressful or time-sensitive situations, innovations such as this one have a dramatic impact on nurse job satisfaction. As concerns about safe staffing levels reach alarming highs, PillTime’s innovative solution proves invaluable to nurses. Salford Royal nurse, Nadine Keates, experienced a more appealing work environment when using the PillTime method:

“The PillTime pouches have made for efficient drug rounds and a calmer, more relaxed atmosphere on the ward.”

PillTime is an innovation that could both reduce pressure on nursing staff and improve job satisfaction, to tackle the escalating nurse shortage in the NHS.

Key project benefits to nurses:

• The removed burden of medication sorting

• Swifter identity checks

• More time to deliver patient care

• A calmer working environment

• Assurance inaccuracy

For more information about working with PillTime to improve dispensing efficiency and patient care, please email HCP@pilltime.co.uk. You can find more information about our service at www.pilltime.co.uk.

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About PillTime

PillTime is an NHS pharmacy that delivers prescription medication for free - using innovative technology to sort and clearly label medication, into easy to open pouches.