Hawke’s Bay speech–language therapist wins award

13 Sep 2017 | Building Leadership & Capability

A thoughtful approach to improving relationships and commitment to the care of her patients has seen a Hawke’s Bay District Health Board speech and language therapist become the latest recipient of an Open for leadership award.

Andrea Tabaka received her award today for her work in the intensive care unit (ICU). It was presented by Health Quality & Safety Commission chief executive Dr Janice Wilson.

The Open for leadership awards are coordinated by the Commission. They recognise and celebrate health professionals who demonstrate excellent practice, quality improvement and leadership skills. They are part of the Commission’s work to build capability and leadership in the health sector.

‘Andrea Tabaka has used evidence-based practice in a number of areas to ensure tracheostomy patients receive high-quality care,’ says Janice Wilson.

‘The DHB says her persistence and tenacity have also led to a reduced risk of aspiration pneumonia within the ICU, which means patients have a shorter stay and are healthier.’

Among the initiatives lead by Andrea are:

• using evidence-based practice in intensive care to ensure patients with a tracheostomy (a tube inserted in the neck to help with breathing) can swallow safely
• improving reporting and action for learning from adverse events
• reviewing and ensuring consistency for referrals between intensive care and the speech language therapy service.

Janice Wilson says the DHB describes Andrea as caring and compassionate.

‘In one example, she arranged for a patient in the ICU to be able to watch his daughter’s wedding over Skype on a hospital iPad. This is an experience he would have missed if it weren’t for her going the extra mile.’

Andrea says the work she has carried out, including regular meetings with ICU teams to discuss patients, has been easy to implement thanks to the support of her colleagues.

‘At the end of the day the ICU team and I just want what’s best for the patient. By having regular discussions, I can identify patients who are appropriate for speech therapy and it’s something at the forefront of the minds of the doctors.

‘It means patients are being seen sooner, and they’re having great care.’

She says she is grateful to the DHB for allowing her to take a quality improvement mindset to the care given to patients.

‘What’s different isn’t always easy, but the ICU and DHB have been really supportive.’

Andrea was awarded a trophy and will be sponsored to attend a Commission event.


Last updated 13/09/2017