Quality celebrated at Mercy's annual awards


On 7 October Mercy Hospital staff and specialists celebrated excellence in health care at its annual Quality Awards, held at the University of Otago Staff Club. The awards, instigated in 2011, recognise and reward staff-led improvement initiatives.

Mercy's CEO Richard Whitney was delighted to launch a new award this year, known as Whatumanawa, which recognises a staff member or specialist who displays the Mercy values, charism and ethos in all that they do.

Whatumanawa's inaugural recipient is Mercy's Linen Services Coordinator, Sandra Laidler. Sandra has 26 years of service at Mercy and over that time has demonstrated boundless energy, compassion and creativity in leading fundraising efforts for local charities, raising tens of thousands of dollars.

'Sandra is known to us all as the instigator, coercer and driver of many fundraising activities - from Gumboot Day and foodbank appeals to supporting Life Matters and Wig Wednesday, Sandra is at the very heart of them all. All of this is done without any desire nor expectation for personal recognition, truly embodying the spirit of Mercy,' says Richard.

Judges considered 11 staff led quality projects this year. The 2021 Supreme Quality Award winner, 'Eye surgery - the Manaaki experience,' saw Manaaki nurse Rebecca McLachlan produce a video demystifying the experience of undergoing eye surgery. The project provides patients with excellent and accessible information to support a confident and more relaxed surgery experience.

Judges Dr Robyn Chirnside, Dr David Perez, Dr Jenny McMahon and Philippa Pringle commented that Rebecca's project 'showed great innovation, was well planned and co-designed with patients from the outset, clearly demonstrating Mercy's values of Hiranga and Kotahitanga.'

Three other projects also received Quality Awards. 'Bagging it up' led by Claire Casey, Theresa McKay and Sandra Laidler sought to find a suitable reusable patient belongings bag. After trialing several possibilities, staff and patients settled on a locally produced fabric bag, which is cleaned by the Hospital's laundry department in between patients.

'A great day to learn something new,' aimed to provide excellent and relevant professional development opportunities for Mercy's nursing staff. Project team members Amanda O'Connor, Pam Smith and Natalie McLean wanted to ensure Mercy's nursing staff meet registration requirements of the NZ Nursing Council, and that nurses are well equipped to meet the needs of an increasingly complex patient population.

Mercy's human resources team created a new staff handbook to support a seamless transition to employment at Mercy in 'The more you know.' Adele Tregoning, Claire Casey and Kirsty Houston developed the booklet which provides step-by-step instructions on accessing everything from timesheets, staff carparks to staff lunch orders, alleviating first-day nerves for new staff. 

Earlier this year Mercy's focus on quality improvement received national recognition, with 'Gluten Freedom' winning the non-clinical award at the 2021 New Zealand Private Surgical Hospitals Association's Leaders in Quality Awards.

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