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Nurse who? Names on theatre caps answers the question

23 February 2018

This week, Princess Alexandra Hospital’s (PAH) Surgical Care Unit (SCU) embraced the Theatre Cap Challenge to improve communication among staff.

Inspired by Sydney anaesthetist Dr Rob Hackett, who started the challenge, more than 30 staff members wrote their names and titles on their theatre caps so they would be easily identifiable.    

SCU nurse Belinda Fennessy said the simple but effective initiative improved efficiency. 

“It's easier to coordinate care when you know everyone's names, but remembering them all can be a challenge—especially for casual staff who work in different hospitals,” she said.

“I recently transferred from the Spinal Injuries Unit at PAH and it took me awhile to learn everyone’s names and positions.

“Having everyone’s names right out in the open just makes things so much easier.”

Belinda said staff were required to wear official identification, but in busy theatre situations they could be obscured by medical gowns or tucked into scrub pockets.

“Where better to state your name and position than on your head,” she said. 

SCU Nurse Unit Manager Brock Yates said the challenge created a buzz through the entire department.

“On the day, there was a lot of chat in the theatre complex among all different disciplines,” he said.

“Many people asked about the idea and why we were doing it. One unit even came with a list of staff names and asked us to make name labels so they could be part of the day.”

Brock said the initiative tied in with Metro South Health’s ‘hello my name is’ campaign that encouraged staff to display a larger nametag and introduce themselves to patients and colleagues.

“After the success of the day and positive feedback from both patients and staff, Belinda and I are currently looking into ways we can make this an official initiative,” he said.

“One things for certain, we’ve started the conversation and that’s how any change happens.”

Last updated 23 February 2018
Last reviewed 23 February 2018

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