April 18, 2024


Inspired By Travel

A new community thoracic specialist nurse role for post-operative care


A thoracic group has launched community expert nurses to lessen patients’ clinic stays and readmission fees. This initiative won the Surgical Nursing group in the 2021 Nursing Moments Awards


A new role was designed for a Macmillan group thoracic specialist nurse at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Believe in, to vacation to patients’ households to deliver social and emotional guidance after lung cancer operation. As a final result of the new posts, the department’s readmission charges reduced and patient knowledge enhanced.

Citation: Stockdale S et al (2022) A new group thoracic expert nurse job for put up-operative treatment. Nursing Times [online] 118: 7.

Authors: Stacey Stockdale, Hayley McNaught, Leanne Connelly and Rachel Calvert are all Macmillan thoracic professional nurses, South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.


Sufferers go through thoracic techniques for diagnostic, therapeutic and palliative intent for both benign and malignant conditions, and the thoracic department at South Tees Hospitals NHS Basis Believe in cares for all-around 800 patients a yr who are undergoing these interventions.

In July 2020, the office, in collaboration with Macmillan Cancer Support and South Tees Cancer Companies, created a new role for a neighborhood thoracic professional nurse, with the purpose of giving holistic care to thoracic individuals. The part was intended to actively aid people and their households by supplying continuity of treatment throughout the thoracic surgical pathway. The have to have for specialised thoracic treatment experienced been determined prior to July 2020, but the challenge commenced at this issue mainly because the Covid-19 pandemic enhanced the demand for local community-based thoracic care to reduce equally the size of patients’ clinic stays and their medical center readmission premiums.

Addressing gaps in support provision

Our section had previously identified a gap in assistance provision prior to the pandemic began: individuals were discharged following thoracic surgery and typically not reviewed until eventually their program six-week article-surgical procedure clinic verify-up. The distribute of the coronavirus in 2020 meant it grew to become essential to discharge publish-operative people as immediately as attainable clients with lung cancer are at an increased chance of turning into contaminated with Covid-19 and there have been worries they would working experience increased prices of morbidity and mortality than the basic inhabitants (Passaro et al, 2021).

Our division, as a result, confronted the chance of the hole we had identified widening. To tackle this and increase client care, we designed the role of a local community thoracic professional nurse to pay a visit to people at dwelling 24-48 hours immediately after discharge. The nurse’s expert expertise in thoracic surgical treatment would permit them to:

  • Overview individuals
  • Regulate their signs and symptoms
  • Deliver reassurance and assist for clients and their households.

Placing up the provider

Our group worked intently with South Tees Most cancers Products and services and Macmillan Most cancers Aid to produce a proposal for a neighborhood thoracic professional nurse company, which was immediately permitted. Macmillan Cancer Support offered a grant of £50,000 in 2020, and this was renewed in 2021. South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Rely on funded fees for issues these types of as a laptop, phone and travel costs, and we arranged to have a pool auto made use of only for this assistance. In addition, the belief agreed to acquire more than duty for funding the company in the foreseeable future.

The process was not without challenges, this kind of as getting the correct equipment quickly and producing an built-in databases that joined to GP, clinic and group care products and services. This databases one-way links to all thoracic expert services, which includes pre-assessment, surgery, discharge and all comply with-up testimonials (equally in the clinic and in the neighborhood) it also facilitates the specialist nurse position getting coated all through annual go away and other staff members absences. With the trust’s assist, we were equipped to defeat these problems, guaranteeing we experienced ample tools and materials out there to control people in the neighborhood.

Managing the company

Funding for one Macmillan neighborhood thoracic professional nurse was launched and the submit is now thoroughly included into the staff, with four nurses offering thoracic patients with neighborhood assistance on rotation. As the Covid-19 pandemic has restricted clinic visits for inpatients, the skill to care for clients in the local community – exactly where they can see their family members and carers – substantially improves patient care and satisfaction. In addition, the local community thoracic professional nurses are equipped to examine and manage every patient’s ailment at home in a much more personalised way than they could formerly.

This new function permits the nurse to:

  • Assistance clients all through their changeover to neighborhood care subsequent early discharge
  • Offer expertise – such as early intervention for psychological and emotional assist – in the patient’s personal dwelling
  • Response queries relating to surgery and expected restoration
  • Handle signs, for illustration, by optimising analgesia
  • Guidance sufferers to regulate their very own signs or symptoms, these as breathlessness
  • Recognize and address wound challenges
  • Present patients with their post-operative histology benefits and inform them of any onward referrals for even more cure.

The service usually takes a holistic strategy to affected person treatment and our expert nurses stick to each patient’s journey from pre-evaluation by way of to procedure and restoration.

“The judges ended up amazed by this assistance, which was plainly focused on individuals, and the team ended up inclusive in their involvement of both of those sufferers and employees in service development” (Judges’ feed-back)


This services aimed to help not only thoracic patients’ bodily health but also their psychological wellbeing. The local community thoracic professional nurses have discovered means to enhance patients’ high quality of lifestyle and comfort at dwelling for instance, they have organized Macmillan Grants to permit clients who had been having difficulties with simple treatment to get important tools, these as beds or kitchen area appliances.

The introduction of this role has led to a important reduction in thoracic patients’ size of hospital continue to be: it is now an regular of 4.1 times in our division, when compared with the pre-pandemic countrywide normal of 6.6 times (Richens, 2018). We believe this could decrease further more over the coming yr, since in the course of the Covid-19 pandemic the greater part of patients have been admitted on the day in advance of surgical procedures, whereas our section is beginning to return to its common apply of admitting them on the day of medical procedures.

Additionally, our initial data shows a reduction in hospital readmissions from 36% in 2019 to 11% in 2021 (Lim, 2022). We acknowledge that readmission fees will never ever be zero nonetheless, when complications that have to have inpatient treatment are recognised throughout residence visits, the thoracic professional nurses can arrange immediate admission to the thoracic ward, thus steering clear of sufferers getting to visit high-threat areas, such as the unexpected emergency division and admission units.

Client responses

Given that the initiative began in 2020, 400 new clients have been supported by this specialised nursing provider. We have produced 520 household visits, 460 phone phone calls and 80 pre-assessment or clinic reviews. Affected person feed-back has been overwhelmingly favourable in unique, clients say how a must have they find the service in conditions of reassurance and help. A person explained:

It is significant to have a perception of follow-up right after significant surgery, due to the fact it’s unfamiliar territory and just one can feel anxious.”

Conclusion and potential programs

An sudden issues we encountered for the duration of this challenge was that several patients’ physical and psychological wellbeing was even worse than expected. We recognised that these lower degrees of health wanted to be tackled urgently, as quite a few individuals ended up also battling with isolation brought on by the pandemic. A gain of our support is its ability to provide facial area-to-confront assistance and treatment, which we hope will stimulate good restoration.

Due to the fact introducing this specialised nursing support, we have consistently adapted to a quickly-switching planet, achieved our key targets in improving affected person treatment, and surpassed our preliminary anticipations. As we proceed to push by way of the pandemic, we will ensure we go on to aid patients just after thoracic surgery to the very best of our talents. We plan to disseminate our project both locally and nationally as an case in point of fantastic observe, and other groups have presently expressed an interest in replicating this support.

Important details

  • A selection of thoracic techniques are applied to diagnose and take care of benign and malignant conditions
  • The Covid-19 pandemic greater the time concerning thoracic medical procedures and regime write-up-medical procedures clinic evaluation
  • Clients with lung most cancers have an improved hazard of Covid-19 an infection and better prices of morbidity and mortality than the general inhabitants
  • Obtaining group care lets people to see loved ones members while inpatient visits are restricted
  • The job of the neighborhood thoracic expert nurse can reduce the duration of hospital stay and readmission prices

Tips for placing up comparable tasks

  • Discuss to all teams who would be included in the services
  • Setting up and working treatments are important
  • Create methods of accurately recording data, and be clear about what facts desires to be gathered
  • Establish ways of accumulating patient knowledge feed-back speedily
  • Establish associations with referring teams and group groups
  • Continue to keep an open thoughts, simply because you will consistently be adapting to alter


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