Toseka Naqvi - Senior Sister
While not necessarily an immediate threat to life, some medical conditions are considered to be so serious that they require surgical attention on the same day they are seen. Patients with these problems are referred from GPs and our Emergency Departments (EDs) straight to our Surgical Assessment Unit (SAU) for a specialist opinion to see if the surgery is needed there and then or if it can wait.
If a decision is taken to go ahead, the SAU plays an important role in how much of a priority the surgery is against the needs of other patients on the individual units, with those most urgently requiring an intervention being put to the head of the queue. The unit deals with specifically with patients requiring General, Urology and Gastroenterology surgeries.
Management of the SAU at St James's falls to Toseka Naqvi, Senior Sister.
"Working at St James's is like having a second family: everyone is there to help and support each other. I feel very lucky to have such a great team around me, all working towards providing the very best possible care for our patients," said Toseka. "When I started here, the unit was still in an embryonic stage - we hadn't even moved in to our purpose-built facility and the levels of staffing were not what they are today. But, as Senior Sister, I have been in a really good position over the past two years to help build a team within the SAU which works effectively and collaboratively for the good of the people we care for."
"Given the nature of our unit, we see a wide variety of patients from different and diverse backgrounds with various conditions. On an average day we can see up to 60 patients, so we have to be ready for anything," she added. "All of our patients have acute conditions requiring abdominal medicine and/or surgery. It is on our unit where a decision is made if they need surgery on the day or if it can wait or be treated more effectively by other means."
Senior Sisters are the most senior members of staff permanently based on a ward or unit and are responsible for the whole area. It is their job to keep everything running as smoothly as possible and ensure that there are appropriate levels of staffing.
Toseka plays a crucial role in making sure that patient-flow is maintained at the St James's site, working to make sure that patients are where they need to be. She works closely with surgeon colleagues to help prioritise those who need need for surgery is most urgent and to transition those who do not require a procedure to a more appropriate area.
"I am the most senior nurse based on the SAU and responsible for its day-to-day running. My duties include coordinating the unit, staff rotas and management of patient flow through the unit to the most appropriate area of the hospital or to discharge," she said. "All of this means that I need to be very organised and have a clear idea of what will be happening on the day. Of course, you can never really know exactly what's happening, but by planning ahead, you can be prepared for all eventualities."
"On the unit everyone knows what their role is and we all work to incredibly high standards to make sure that our patients get the best possible care. We have very good relationships with our surgeon colleagues and theatres staff, which helps to improve our efficiency," Toseka explained. "I am very proud of what we do in the SAU and the levels of care we deliver each and every day. Over the next few years, I hope to see the service develop yet further, building upon what we have already achieved and continuing to deliver the best possible care."
Outside of work, Toseka likes spending time with her friends and family and especially enjoys going out for meals and catching-up.
"Currently it's 'wedding season', so a lot of my time on a weekend has been spent celebrating with family and friends. I think it's important to keep in touch and I try to make an effort to meet up with people whenever I can," she said.