The St Helena General Hospital has recently welcomed two new additions to the Health Service Team – Hospital Nursing Officer, Lisa Rhodes, and Senior Ward Sister, Heide Drysdale (photos attached). Both Lisa and Heide arrived to the Island on 16 January 2015.
Lisa is contracted by St Helena Government for two years and as the Hospital Nursing Officer is responsible for the overall management of the Hospital, patients and staff.
Since her arrival, Lisa has been familiarising herself with the staff, finding out what they believe works well and listening to any concerns they might have.
“Getting to know the staff has been my main priority, finding out their opinions on the service we offer and how we can work together to improve the service. We already have a good structure but if we can simplify things for everyone in the Hospital then the job will be smoother and things will happen more quickly.
“Health care is ultimately the same principle in every country around the world and you try and do the best for your patient, everyone goes about it differently but ultimately the focus is always on patient care. What I’m hoping to do is get everyone working together and create a better environment both for the patients and for the staff. It’s not about bringing in fancy new ways of doing things it’s actually about getting the basics right and making sure that we have happy staff, because that means happy patients.”
Senior Ward Sister, Heide will be on Island for six months (on secondment) and is supporting Lisa in her transition. Heide is essentially Lisa’s ‘eyes and ears’ on the Hospital floor and her role is evaluating patient care, assessing the Nurses and helping to put in place an education programme for the Nurses’ continuous professional development.
With Lisa, Heide has also been getting to know the staff and familiarising herself with how the Hospital and health care system works on the Island.
“The Island has some really enthusiastic Nurses who are willing to learn and take on extended roles, but they do need a lot of support. With the opening of the Airport the Island will never be the same and health care needs to change, it won’t happen overnight but change has to be supported and that’s why I am here.
“Six months isn’t a very long time but if we start with the basics I can put in place the foundations of a good nursing programme which the Nurses can continue to build on after I leave.”
Both Lisa and Heide recognise the good work of the General Hospital but understand the challenges that a remote Hospital faces, especially with resources and sourcing equipment and supplies. Both believe that with the right support and training, the health service on the Island can improve.
Lisa and Heide have a wealth of experience in the Nursing field. Lisa is a Nurse by trade and has worked her way up in the Nursing field. Prior to coming to the Island Lisa was a Sister in the UK. Heide initially trained in Acute Medical Nursing before moving into Emergency Nursing. Heide is now an Intensive Care Nurse and works in a big trauma centre in a London Hospital.
Both Lisa and Heide are enjoying St Helena, have felt very welcome and look forward to working towards further improving the Island’s Health Service.
2 February 2015