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My lab: Covering a huge geographical area

Senior Biomedical Scientist Robyn Wilson gives a guided tour of point-of-care testing for NHS Tayside.

The point-of-care testing (POCT) team at NHS Tayside has developed dramatically over the past five years. We have a wonderful team consisting of a Department Manager, Deputy Manager, Specialist Biomedical Scientist, a rotational Biomedical Scientist and one Medical Laboratory Assistant.

We work incredibly hard to deliver the best service possible for our users and day to day we provide training on our devices, perform audits, distribute and process EQA, and complete verifications for departments within the hospital setting that are providing new POCT services within their clinical area. We cover a huge geographical area, which consists of Tayside, Angus, North Fife and Perth and Kinross. One of the biggest challenges of serving such a far-reaching area is ensuring that our users in remote areas receive the same service as our local users. We manage this challenge by regularly scheduling time to visit these areas – during which we will provide refresher training, perform troubleshooting and take the time to build working relationships with users so they feel they can reach out should issues arise.

The biggest challenge in POCT is user engagement, but we alleviate this by ensuring that users know who we are and how to find us. We are friendly, helpful and approachable and each member of our team strives to go above and beyond for our users. It is demonstrated in the lovely feedback we receive.

Our strengths are found in our ability to work as a team, our excellent communication and the fact that even when our days are incredibly busy we are still able to have camaraderie, which keeps morale high and improves job satisfaction as we are genuinely contributing positively towards patient care. We have a great skill mix and bring the best out in each other, which ensures we are able to manage our workload effectively and keep progressing forward.

Currently, we are responsible for 18 blood gas analysers, 250 glucose meters, 75 ketone meters, 11 HbA1c devices, 15 haemoglobin devices and 30 international normalised ratio (INR) devices. However, our repertoire is always growing as clinical areas need to employ POCT devices to improve patient management and contribute to better clinical outcomes. In the interest of continuing professional development, members of our team have created a consulting business and website with the primary aim of building a national collaborative network within the POCT community to improve quality and contribute more effectively to the management of patient care. At www.poct-for-scot.com you can read blogs written by our POCT team at NHS Tayside, which detail our journey to POCT ISO accreditation, among other POCT developments.

Our ethos in POCT at NHS Tayside is: “Vision Statement: Point of care; herefor you. Aim: Working together to produce the right result for the benefit of the patient.” This is at the core of everything we do and it is what inspires us to come into work every day and do the very best that we possibly can.

Robyn Wilson is a Senior Biomedical Scientist working in Point of Care Testing at Ninewells Hospital, NHS Scotland.

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