Publish date: 3 October 2022

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Today we take a trip to Northamptonshire where our regular ‘What Do You Do At DHU?’ feature takes a look at a role unique within DHU to the county.

Amanda Durrant takes on three roles with us, two of them will be familiar as a Receptionist based in the Fracture Clinic at Northampton General Hospital and as a Driver supporting our ANP’s and GP’s when doing home visits. Perhaps not quite so familiar is her role as a Runner, so we caught up with Amanda who told us what it involves, how it fits in with her other two roles and what it means to DHU and our patients.

“I joined DHU around four years ago,” explains Amanda, “which was when DHU took over the running of urgent, emergency and out of hours care in Northants from IC24. My background is in nursing, a profession I enjoyed for 30 plus years within forensics and learning disability environments, before retiring and to care for my Mother.

“I’ve always been patient focused which is why I joined IC24 in the Summer of 2013 to become a contracted Driver. It’s a very involved role that supports our ANP’s and GP’s when they make home visits and care for people in their homes. I can bring my nursing experience into that role in terms of making sure we have the right equipment, medication and documentation in the car, to facilitate the best of care for the patient by the Clinician.

“I’m all for learning new skills and as a Driver there are moments when you have a little down time which was when I used to observe and get talking to the Receptionists. They have an incredibly difficult job, often being the first port of call when a patient comes in or is referred. I liked the look of the role so decided to look into training, learning how to use System One and gain the necessary skills.

“I was successful so split my time between being a Driver and a Receptionist which is when I learned about the Runner. Runners support the Dispatch Controller (DC) and Receptionist across two, six-hour shifts between 10 am and 10pm, Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays. The Receptionist looks after A&E and pre-booked patients, the DC manages four bases across Northants and whose role is complex and central to an organised workload, managing ever changing situations and scenarios.

“We’ll take calls from Paramedics, District Nurses, Marie Curie Nurses, Hospice at home Nurses, Biochemists, Pharmacists, Haematologists and more. Cases will then appear on screen and we will inform the DC about these referrals.  There is also a need to record case numbers which are being assigned as home visits, face to face appointments or referred as A&E attendances.

“We support the clinical teams with documentation requests, source and set up any equipment, I’ve been trained as a chaperone for patients who request one so there’s a lot of variety. My nursing background has been very beneficial in terms of helping, particularly when giving advice to some of the newer staff who perhaps may not always understand the complexity of some patient needs.

“I am not a registered Nurse anymore but I’ve never had any difficulty separating what I do now from nursing as I left that profession for a different challenge. I still enjoy the more stressful days as they keep you buzzing and focused but I’m more than happy to leave the clinical decisions to the clinicians. As it is…I’ve been there and done that!

“I split my work over a six-week rota, the majority of which is probably spent as a Driver, then a Runner with the least time as a Receptionist these days. A Runner is an unusual role and I think the reason that it’s unique to Northants as it is historic and worked well for previous provider. DHU took it on when taking over the contract from IC24. It’s to DHU’s credit that the role has endured and as a Runner myself, I’d be interested to see how it could be applied in other areas of the organisation.

“I love this role because I can still make a difference and I feel that what we’re doing as Runners is still helpful, supportive and productive. If I do my job right, then the Clinicians can have the right tools  etc so the patients get the best of care and that goes for everybody who works at DHU. We give each other what we need, provide that service and support so that when anybody needs our help, regardless of what service, everything is in place to give them the best possible outcome.”

Thanks to Amanda for telling us about her role and keep your eyes peeled for DHU’s next #WhatDoYouDo.

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