An option allowing some patients with fractured ankles to go home while waiting for surgery has won a Tauranga nurse a leadership award.
Tauranga Hospital orthopaedic nurse Leigh Youngman is the latest recipient of the Health Quality & Safety Commission’s Open for leadership awards.
Youngman was nominated for the programme she developed while completing her Masters in Nursing (Hons) degree, the programme allows some patients with fractured ankles to return home rather than wait in hospital for the swelling to reduce enough to allow surgery.
‘Because I work in orthopaedics I wanted to do something specific to that. One of the areas I saw for improvement was allowing patients to go home prior to surgery. Those with ankle fractures usually spend 5-7 days in a ward because their swelling means they have to wait to be operated on,’ she says.
‘I talked to patients who were in the ward while I was developing this, and a large majority said they’d prefer to be at home.’
The criteria for assessing whether an ankle fracture patient can return home include living close to the hospital, having support people at home, having a physio assessment which shows they can be mobile and use crutches, and having the ability to manage their pain with medication.
Youngman, who was not aware she had been nominated for the award, said she was 'a little bit shocked" but "absolutely stoked" by the unexpected award. She received a trophy and will be able to attend a future Commission event of her choice
The HQSC leadership awards aim to recognise and celebrate the work of emerging health care leaders who have made a difference to patient care.