Southland’s ‘super team’ supports new nurse-led respiratory clinic
‘Southland’s Super Team’ - a dedicated group of respiratory doctors and nurses, is supporting a new nurse-led clinic that is already making a difference for patients.
Led by Lisa Mason, Clinical Nurse Specialist (Respiratory), the clinic is for people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) who have emphysema and bronchitis.
The clinic, which runs every second Friday at Southland Hospital, began in March, and is already proving its worth to patients from Bluff to Arrowtown, by using Lisa’s skills as a nurse specialising in respiratory care.
All referrals to the Southland Hospital Respiratory Service are triaged by Respiratory Physician Dr Tim Lequeux, who identifies patients that could benefit from Lisa’s skills and care. It means these patients are seen and treated faster, and benefit from the added support she is able to offer.
Lisa says, nurses are well placed to deal with the various complications of COPD, making sure patients are taking medicines appropriately, and providing education about their conditions.
For example, she might refer patients to pulmonary rehabilitation, an exercise programme for those with lung conditions that also provides education and runs for 6-8 weeks; Or she might provide the patient with an action plan, explaining what signs and symptoms they should look for, which helps them manage their condition at home.
Lisa says, “Southlanders can be very stoic and uncomplaining”. The COPD clinic provides a holistic approach to support patients in managing their condition, so they can remain as well as possible, rather than stoically and unnecessarily putting up with breathing difficulties.
If there are concerns that a patients’ medication needs to be changed, she can on-refer them to one of the respiratory physicians to look at that aspect of their care.
However, Lisa is also undertaking further study working through the nurses prescribing practicum so, when qualified, she will be able to prescribe medication herself.
So far, she has received good feedback and encouragement from patients and GPs, and the rest of the team are very supportive. She says she’s learned a lot over the past few months by offering the service and really enjoys the collaborative way the team works together.
Acting Respiratory Service Manager, Lisa Wilson is pleased with the new service, which “has allowed a highly skilled nurse to step into a role to help patients be seen faster and for her to operate at the top of scope”, while supported by the respiratory physicians and nursing colleagues.