University of Bedfordshire student has been shortlisted for the NHS Employers award for outstanding achievement by an AHP or healthcare science apprentice, support worker or technician in the NHS Employers Advancing Healthcare Awards.
Linda Rafferty, who is studying the Foundation Degree Apprenticeship in Healthcare Practice at Bedfordshire, has been recognised for the ‘Ask Me’ Communication Book, an accessible communication aid resource that enables patients without speech to clearly and concisely indicate their wants and emotions.
Linda works for Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust and delivers physio and occupational therapies in community clinics and the Lakeside Special School in Welwyn Garden City.
On being shortlisted as a finalist, Linda said: “I am truly blown away to be shortlisted. It is very humbling. Never did I imagine I would be shortlisted for such an event; it really is an honour.
“The response to the ‘Ask Me’ Communication Book has been phenomenal. I never anticipated such a response but I am delighted, in particular for the children and young adults who use it. I am so passionate about their voice being heard.
“I hope that, through the implementation and use of the resource, they are recognised for having a fundamental role in the care that we deliver and the support we provide them.”
Dr Adrienne Sharples, Course Leader in Bedfordshire's School of Healthcare Practice, said: “The course provides an opportunity for apprentices to undertake a service improvement project, and I am always amazed at their excellent standard.
“Linda exemplifies the commitment and motivation of my learners in wanting to use their project to improve the quality of patient care, and I have seen her project grow in complexity and impact over time.”
The ‘Ask Me’ Communication Book is an assisted communication book for all children and young people who are receiving care within the Children’s Therapy Service.
The resource consists of varying pictorial symbols with words and additional resources, which enables the patient to clearly and concisely indicate their wants and emotions.
The book aims not only to improve communication, but also to increase inclusion and assist in making decisions about how the patient’s condition is managed, optimistically increasing patient and parent satisfaction and delivering person centred care whilst also observing statutory guidance, policy and procedure.
Kirstie Simpson, Quality Improvement Lead at Hertfordshire Community Trust, said; “It is an excellent achievement that Linda has been nominated and shortlisted for this award.
“We are very proud of the initiative Linda has taken in developing this project to make such a worthy difference to children and young people and enabling their voice to be heard.
“Feedback from staff using this resource demonstrates that this enhances the ability for professionals to build a rapport with patients, understand their emotions, needs and preferences to personalise the care they provide.”
Linda presented the ‘Ask Me’ Communication Book to a panel of judges in February, and will then attend the Advancing Healthcare Awards ceremony on 20 March to find out the results.
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