Student Quality Ambassador Event ~ 21st November 2014

I am so happy and proud to be writing this post and announcing that I am officially a Student Quality Ambassador (SQA)!!

The Student Quality Ambassador project is run by the lovely lady Ann Butler which began at the end of 2011 with just 5 students, from there it has just grown and grown and now nearly 3 years later there are over 190 SQA's ranging from nursing to radiography students even as far as cadet nurses and students completing Access: Health courses. Students involved in the project are able to develop ideas and innovative projects which helps to champion quality in all areas of healthcare. The role allows student to share best practice and offer leadership skills whilst becoming a voice for patients in hospitals and other healthcare settings. 

Last Friday I spent the day with 50 fellow SQA's at Liverpool John Moores University and Ann Butler who was joined by multiple guest speakers and several more qualified SQA's. The day revolved around knowing your role, meeting new people, and completing some training with fun, games and laughter thrown in as well. 

So let's start at the beginning shall we?! At the start of the day we got the chance to have tea & coffee and a chance to have a chat with other new SQA's from different universities and different professions, meaning everyone got the chance to leave with a new friend. Students attended from Central Lanchashire & Manchester right down to Wales and whilst us nurses slightly over-ran other professions on the day it was great to see SQA's from other professions like radiographers, occupational therapists  and midwives. 

After we'd had a chance to chat with each other and make some new friends, Ann gave us a lovely speech welcoming us and introducing us to how the project started, what our role was and some of the opportunities we can be involved in as part of being a Student Quality Ambassador. 

We were then introduced to the 15 steps challenge, something we can be completing quite regularly as SQA's. We were also told about how & why it was used and we were also given the chance to complete a 15 steps challenge on the building we were in and got the opportunity to give feedback. So you're are probably wondering what the 15 steps challenge is....well it came about from a mother's comment whose daughter during her childhood was in hospital a lot, she said 'I can tell what kind of care my daughter is going to get within 15 steps of walking onto a ward'. The 'challenge' consists of a structured walk around the ward with clear framework for quality care and focuses on feedback and continuous improvements. The idea of the walk around is to support sharing good practice and concentrate on the patients voice and their experiences, as they're our eyes on the ward when people aren't there, they are the one's who can champion for nurses who do something above and beyond or have little suggestions, for instance having posters with uniform colours so patients are able to identify who's who!

Next we got to meet Simon who helped inform us of all the opportunities, experiences and projects we could be involved in as student quality ambassadors. He then also informed of this amazing project he is working on at the moment on his placement which features discharging patients and how they can be improved and run a lot smoother with nothing left behind or forgotten. Being able to see the way Simon had taken his idea and being able to make it a reality with the SQA project is just amazing and makes us all feel like if we have an idea we have someone who we can talk to and see if it can be developed into something real and used within our local hospitals and placement areas!

Last but definitely not least, one of the last things we got to do is complete some dementia friends training and become actual dementia friends! We were all given a presentation by a really nice SQA called Leanne, who said she was really nervous giving the training but I must say she looked like a complete natural up there! It started off with dementia bingo with mince pies as prizes afterwards she went on to talk about dementia as a condition and how people with dementia are still people they can still live well with a progressive condition. I won't spoil the training too much in case any of you guys are about to complete it or have been told you are going to do it soon/hoping to do it soon, but I will say it is definitely worth doing. The information they tell you is just so insightful and useful to know for anyone that currently is or training to be any domain of health professions.

Overall the day was genuinely amazing, we got to network and make new friends whilst also meeting SQA's that have been in the project a bit longer and have already achieved so much in such a short length of time. We also got the chance to learn something new and were given the opportunity to become dementia champions so that we could lead some of these dementia friends session. I would definitely recommend looking into anything similar in your area or get in touch with the lovely lady herself that has done all of this project herself and done fantastically with it....Ann Butler!

Danielle Levy

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