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


A thoracic crew has launched community expert nurses to cut down patients’ medical center stays and readmission charges. This initiative gained the Surgical Nursing category in the 2021 Nursing Instances Awards


A new purpose was developed for a Macmillan group thoracic specialist nurse at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Rely on, to travel to patients’ homes to give social and emotional assistance right after lung cancer medical procedures. As a result of the new posts, the department’s readmission prices lessened and individual working experience enhanced.

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

Authors: Stacey Stockdale, Hayley McNaught, Leanne Connelly and Rachel Calvert are all Macmillan thoracic expert nurses, South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Have confidence in.


Patients bear thoracic treatments for diagnostic, therapeutic and palliative intent for both of those benign and malignant illnesses, and the thoracic office at South Tees Hospitals NHS Basis Belief cares for all-around 800 sufferers a 12 months who are undergoing these interventions.

In July 2020, the department, in collaboration with Macmillan Cancer Help and South Tees Cancer Providers, established a new job for a local community thoracic expert nurse, with the goal of giving holistic care to thoracic individuals. The job was intended to actively support clients and their households by supplying continuity of treatment during the thoracic surgical pathway. The want for specialised thoracic treatment experienced been identified prior to July 2020, but the job started at this point for the reason that the Covid-19 pandemic elevated the demand from customers for local community-centered thoracic care to lessen each the size of patients’ healthcare facility stays and their medical center readmission prices.

Addressing gaps in services provision

Our section had now recognized a hole in support provision ahead of the pandemic began: clients had been discharged next thoracic surgery and normally not reviewed until their regimen 6-week article-surgical procedures clinic check out-up. The unfold of the coronavirus in 2020 intended it grew to become very important to discharge submit-operative patients as promptly as achievable people with lung most cancers are at an greater chance of turning out to be infected with Covid-19 and there had been issues they would working experience better costs of morbidity and mortality than the standard inhabitants (Passaro et al, 2021).

Our section, for that reason, confronted the risk of the gap we had identified widening. To address this and increase patient treatment, we made the job of a group thoracic professional nurse to check out individuals at dwelling 24-48 hrs after discharge. The nurse’s professional understanding in thoracic surgical treatment would help them to:

  • Review individuals
  • Manage their symptoms
  • Provide reassurance and assistance for individuals and their families.

Placing up the services

Our staff labored carefully with South Tees Most cancers Services and Macmillan Most cancers Guidance to compose a proposal for a neighborhood thoracic expert nurse assistance, which was quickly accepted. Macmillan Cancer Assist furnished a grant of £50,000 in 2020, and this was renewed in 2021. South Tees Hospitals NHS Basis Have confidence in funded expenditures for issues this sort of as a laptop, telephone and journey expenses, and we organized to have a pool car utilized only for this support. Furthermore, the have faith in agreed to just take above responsibility for funding the service in the potential.

The process was not devoid of troubles, these as getting the suitable gear rapidly and developing an built-in database that linked to GP, hospital and group treatment products and services. This databases hyperlinks to all thoracic services, including pre-assessment, medical procedures, discharge and all adhere to-up critiques (each in the clinic and in the community) it also facilitates the professional nurse purpose remaining coated through yearly depart and other team absences. With the trust’s support, we had been in a position to defeat these issues, ensuring we had sufficient equipment and materials offered to manage sufferers in the local community.

Running the support

Funding for a single Macmillan neighborhood thoracic expert nurse was launched and the post is now entirely integrated into the crew, with four nurses providing thoracic sufferers with neighborhood support on rotation. As the Covid-19 pandemic has limited medical center visits for inpatients, the means to care for patients in the local community – exactly where they can see their households and carers – considerably enhances patient care and satisfaction. In addition, the local community thoracic professional nurses are in a position to examine and handle each individual patient’s affliction at household in a more personalised way than they could earlier.

This new position will allow the nurse to:

  • Assist sufferers in the course of their changeover to neighborhood care next early discharge
  • Present experience – which includes early intervention for psychological and psychological support – in the patient’s have property
  • Remedy issues relating to medical procedures and envisioned restoration
  • Control signs or symptoms, for example, by optimising analgesia
  • Help patients to handle their very own symptoms, these kinds of as breathlessness
  • Discover and take care of wound challenges
  • Present patients with their write-up-operative histology final results and advise them of any onward referrals for more therapy.

The support can take a holistic strategy to patient care and our expert nurses abide by each and every patient’s journey from pre-evaluation via to procedure and recovery.

“The judges were amazed by this service, which was evidently targeted on people, and the staff ended up inclusive in their involvement of both of those patients and team in company development” (Judges’ comments)


This company aimed to guidance not only thoracic patients’ physical wellbeing but also their psychological wellbeing. The local community thoracic specialist nurses have identified strategies to improve patients’ excellent of existence and ease and comfort at home for example, they have arranged Macmillan Grants to permit clients who were being battling with simple care to purchase necessary devices, such as beds or kitchen area appliances.

The introduction of this function has led to a substantial reduction in thoracic patients’ duration of medical center remain: it is now an regular of 4.1 days in our division, in comparison with the pre-pandemic national typical of 6.6 days (Richens, 2018). We believe that this could cut down even more over the coming 12 months, mainly because all through the Covid-19 pandemic the majority of sufferers have been admitted on the working day just before surgical procedures, whereas our department is commencing to return to its frequent exercise of admitting them on the working day of surgical procedure.

Furthermore, our preliminary information shows a reduction in healthcare facility readmissions from 36% in 2019 to 11% in 2021 (Lim, 2022). We accept that readmission rates will never ever be zero nonetheless, when troubles that call for inpatient care are recognised for the duration of residence visits, the thoracic specialist nurses can set up immediate admission to the thoracic ward, thus steering clear of clients having to take a look at superior-danger areas, these as the crisis department and admission units.

Individual feedback

Given that the initiative commenced in 2020, 400 new patients have been supported by this specialised nursing assistance. We have built 520 property visits, 460 phone phone calls and 80 pre-assessment or clinic assessments. Affected person feedback has been overwhelmingly good in certain, people say how a must have they come across the service in terms of reassurance and assistance. A single mentioned:

It is vital to have a perception of observe-up after main operation, since it’s unfamiliar territory and just one can sense anxious.”

Summary and long run options

An unpredicted issues we encountered in the course of this undertaking was that many patients’ actual physical and mental well being was worse than anticipated. We recognised that these decrease concentrations of wellness desired to be tackled urgently, as lots of clients were being also battling with isolation induced by the pandemic. A advantage of our service is its means to give encounter-to-confront aid and care, which we hope will inspire constructive restoration.

Considering the fact that introducing this specialised nursing services, we have regularly tailored to a quick-altering environment, attained our most important ambitions in bettering client care, and surpassed our first anticipations. As we proceed to drive by means of the pandemic, we will make certain we continue to help sufferers soon after thoracic surgical treatment to the best of our qualities. We strategy to disseminate our task both locally and nationally as an instance of good follow, and other teams have presently expressed an desire in replicating this service.

Critical points

  • A wide variety of thoracic strategies are employed to diagnose and address benign and malignant ailments
  • The Covid-19 pandemic increased the time in between thoracic surgical treatment and regimen post-surgical treatment clinic evaluate
  • Sufferers with lung cancer have an greater danger of Covid-19 infection and increased premiums of morbidity and mortality than the normal inhabitants
  • Acquiring community treatment makes it possible for clients to see family members customers when inpatient visits are restricted
  • The function of the neighborhood thoracic expert nurse can lessen the period of medical center stay and readmission costs

Advice for setting up related projects

  • Communicate to all teams who would be associated in the services
  • Planning and functioning methods are very important
  • Set up methods of accurately recording information, and be obvious about what information demands to be collected
  • Set up means of collecting individual practical experience suggestions quickly
  • Make associations with referring groups and group groups
  • Continue to keep an open brain, for the reason that you will continuously be adapting to change


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