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Hospital procedures are impacted by Covid-19. Find out more here.

Southern Cross Rotorua Hospital wins industry award for innovative solution to nursing shortage

Pictured left to right: Rachel (RN), Margaret (HCA), Tiweka (Ward Nurse Manager), Rochelle (Clinical Nurse Coordinator) and Nayomi (HCA) from Southern Cross Rotorua Hospital.

Southern Cross Rotorua Hospital has been recognised for its approach to managing staffing challenges through the current worldwide nursing shortage.

The hospital developed a new Collaborative Care model of nursing in late-2022 as a way to manage patient loads as the facility, facing staff shortages, struggled to recruit Registered Nurses (RNs).

With a focus on maintaining high levels of patient care, the RN team itemised every aspect of its daily workload and analysed which tasks needed to be completed by an RN and which could be allocated to another trained non-licensed staff member under the delegation of a RN.

The hospital then hired four new Healthcare Assistants (HCAs) and gave them extra training to expand their roles. While HCAs often undertake tasks such as restocking linens and bandages or routine admin, the added training meant they could have more direct contact with patients, such as taking and recording vital signs, performing ECGs and mobilising post-operative patients.

Stephanie Thomson, General Manager Southern Cross Rotorua Hospital, says the new Collaborative Care approach has allowed RNs to move from taking care of 3-4 patients each to 5-6 patients each, with no impact on clinical care standards.

“This model of nursing means our hospital is no longer having to cancel procedure lists due to staffing shortages, and it’s also created other really positive results for our staff and patients."

“RNs have had their overtime significantly reduced and they are more engaged with their work, too. Our HCAs also feel they’ve been lifted in terms of their opportunity to make a valued contribution to both their colleagues and patients, which is reflected in improved employee and patient satisfaction scores."

The worldwide nursing shortage is something we’ve felt throughout our entire hospital network in recent times, so I’m really proud of the team in Rotorua for creating such a practical and effective solution.

“Not only does this Collaborative Care model work well for our staff, it also allows us to continue delivering the exceptional quality of care that our patients expect and deserve.”

Stephanie says she’s also pleased to see her team’s hard work and initiative recognised with the recognition, which was the 2023 Non-Clinical 'Leaders in Quality Award' from the New Zealand Private Surgical Hospitals Association (NZPSHA).

“This has truly been a team effort and we’re looking forward to continuing this innovation of care in our hospital through 2023.”

For further information or to arrange an interview please contact:

Jeremy Vargo
Communications Manager, Southern Cross

021 732 231