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University of Brighton: Kathy’s Story

Apprentice Nurse Associate Kathy Boult so impressed her bosses with her idea to help stroke patients with mouthcare, that it has been introduced for every patient in the stroke unit, and may be introduced for other acute units in the Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust.

The innovation came about through a project that Kathy was working on, as part of her higher apprenticeship at the University of Brighton.

She was asked to initiate a discussion with her employer and then develop a new approach to an aspect of her job. Her innovative idea is a mouthcare box which helps to control infection and ensure essential supplies are on hand for care staff to use.

Kathy said: “Stroke patients often have trouble swallowing, which can lead to secretions building up, and can sometimes enter the lungs and cause pneumonia. So mouthcare is very important. The box I have designed has a lid which helps with infection control, there is a place for toothbrushes, mouthcare brushes, mouthcare gel and toothpaste.”

Kathy had worked as a healthcare assistant in the NHS for many years when she was offered the opportunity to undertake a nurse associate higher apprenticeship. She said: ‘I am 60 years old now, and I’m doing this apprenticeship. If I can do it, anyone can – age is not a limit.”

Apprenticeship leader for the Nurse Associate programme at the University of Brighton Mark Lees said: “This module is designed to bring practical innovations which directly benefit employer organisations, and improve patient care, whilst the apprentice is studying on the programme.”