West Suffolk Hospital CEO goes ‘back to the floor’

Stephen Dunn working with nurse Maritess Basco on ward F9. ANL-150325-141915001
Stephen Dunn working with nurse Maritess Basco on ward F9. ANL-150325-141915001

West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust’s chief executive has gained a valuable insight into life on the wards after swapping the boardroom for the bedside to work as a nursing assistant.

Stephen Dunn spent Friday shadowing nursing colleagues on ward F9 as part of the hospital’s ongoing “back to the floor” scheme.

The initiative sees board members work alongside clinical staff to find out more about the opportunities and challenges they face, along with areas where further improvements could be made for the benefit of patients.

During the day, Prof Dr Dunn helped to make beds, serve meals and cleaning a store cupboard and sluice. He was joined for part of the shift by Ruth May, chief nurse for NHS England in the Midlands and East, who spent time working on ward G4.

“I was delighted to take part in the back to the floor initiative and be given the opportunity to work on the wards alongside some of our dedicated staff for a day,” said Prof Dr Dunn.

“Since joining the Trust in November, I have visited as many of our staff working in different departments as I can, and have listened to their views on the care we provide for our patients.

“I’ve also followed the most senior doctor overnight, shadowed the porters, observed orthopaedic surgeons perform knee operations, seen an appendectomy and shadowed the junior doctors, as well as carrying out several quality walkabouts.

“This has given me a fantastic, first-hand insight and has proved really valuable during my first five months at West Suffolk Hospital.

“Regular back to the floor exercises also give us the chance to take feedback straight from the ward to the board, in turn helping us to find ways to improve still further.”