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The Face of AfPP Competition - July Winner

Released on - 01/07/2020

The Face of AfPP Competition - July Winner

The Face of AfPP Competition - July Winner

We are delighted to announce that the July winner of our Face of AfPP Competition is the PACU team of York District Teaching Hospital. Congratulations to the team and all involved in this initiative, below is their submission.


We are the Post Anaesthetic Care Unit (PACU) team of the York District Teaching hospital. Our PACU team is inclusive of nurses, ODP’s and ODO’s.  We have different specialities and skills within our department: paediatric nurses, anaesthetic nurses, scrub nurses and general adult nurses.  We are a multicultural nursing team, where many of our nurses are bilingual. In addition, our team boasts a wide range of experience including ICU/HDU, elderly, acute medicine, orthopaedic and armed forces. Our inclusive team has staff who are experienced, newly qualified, return to practice nurses and mature students that have retrained.

We encourage and support each other professionally and personally in a variety of ways e.g. through training opportunities or informal social events. Both contribute to create a positive, happy environment where every individual is valued.

One of our recent initiatives is the Controlled Drugs Champion Scheme (CDCS) where we all strive to achieve Controlled Drug record compliance. Collectively we recognised that we needed to improve and develop our practice with our documentation of administering CD’s in line with our trust’s standards. We have recently achieved regular compliance and an inspection report from our pharmacy stated we had made ‘exemplary improvements’. Our CDCS was initiated by one of our team leaders and is an ongoing development. 

The CDCS promotes compliance with our trusts CD policy. On a monthly basis those with 100% compliance are rewarded with a sticker and treats (usually cake, sweets, pens etc). The PACU sticker chart is reviewed quarterly. Those with three months of 100% compliance are entered into a grand prize raffle. The first team member to ‘miss a signature’ bakes a cake for the grand prize draw day as a forfeit. Raffle prizes, stickers and treats are sourced from within our team costing our trust nothing. Two ‘CD Champions’ are designated on each shift, and they promote the CDCS by double checking and reminding people to sign the CD register as well as carrying out regular CD counts. This non-judgmental, light-hearted competition enables everyone to celebrate individual and team successes through prize giving day and the bribe of having cake. This scheme has significantly helped to improve an area that needed development. The compliance of recording CD’s has become part of PACU’s daily routine, creating a more positive working environment where everyone is included. It is also a positive talking point with patients who are often curious about our CD champion’s badge which shows we are committed to improving our workplace and patient care and safety.  

Our department also benefits from formal and informal training opportunities. Examples include PACU nurses training as theatre scrub nurses or accepting secondment opportunities on the anaesthetic nursing course. These opportunities allow all PACU nurses to expand their skills by learning different roles within the perioperative department. In addition, practitioners outside of PACU are invited into the PACU environment to experience how we work together as a team. This enables the whole perioperative team to integrate together, share experience and work more closely as a team promoting cohesion in our department and ultimately improving patient care by having dual skilled nurses and ODPs.

Informal training opportunities includes ‘Theme of the Week’, a regular information topic display board and link nurse roles.  Our ‘Theme of the Week’ provides a learning opportunity to help us identify areas where we can improve our knowledge and skills. ‘Themes of the Week’ have included national initiatives such as Johns Campaign, as well as current issues such as antiemetics used in perioperative departments. Our current information topic display board is ‘communication in nursing’.  All members of staff are encouraged to contribute to ‘Theme of the Week’ or the information topic display board, promoting a positive working environment where learning and sharing of knowledge is valued, creating teaching and learning throughout the whole department. 

Our ‘Clinical Governance’ days and regular team meetings includes the anaesthetic, theatre and PACU teams. Clinical Governance can incorporate external workshops, simulation days and departmental meetings. We also regularly take the opportunity to give presentations on our link nurse roles. Clinical Governance helps to bring the full perioperative department together where we assimilate and talk to colleagues we may not see or work with on a daily basis, encouraging active listening, sharing and contributions. We integrate as a whole department and acknowledge our different working styles help us to respect each other and each other’s ideas and understanding of different work goals and issues.  

In addition, social events are very important to us, our team has WhatsApp groups, one for PACU communication and one for PACU social chat. The PACU communication can be utilised for swapping shifts or as an information forum for support outside of work. Our PACU social chat is used to organise inclusive events outside of work. This improves our work life balance, acknowledging work is a part of our lives, but we can all go out relax together and have fun. We have many social events where the whole department is welcome; this includes camping trips, gin nights, dog walking and a regular PACU park run. We have fun outside of work, creating a strong community and a great support network that encourages individuals and builds a cohesive team. Our team/community are kind and supportive of each other inside and outside of work. We know how important it is to laugh and have a sense of humour. 

The PACU team recognises that every member is unique with something different and positive to contribute. We learn from each other no matter what background or career stage we are at. We support each other to learn about new topics and recognise its stage not age. We celebrate the diversity within our department ensuring it is recognised within and outside of work. We are a happy, approachable team who laugh and support each other in all environments. We recognise it’s about sharing our common and different experience and learning from them. All of the attributes above make us a stronger formidable team and together we are proud to be PACU. 


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