Applying for two of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Practice Service Standards Awards in 2018 seemed like a very daunting task! We applied for ‘Client Experience’ and ‘Team and Professional Responsibility’. We have always prided ourselves on working hard and providing our patients and clients with a gold standard service, along with being there for our team and taking responsibility for the work we do, BUT looking at ‘Stanley’ we felt nervous.
What is Stanley?
‘Stanley’ is the platform with all the criteria required for each module in each award and we had to upload all our supporting evidence for the awards onto Stanley prior to our awards assessment. There is a lot of paperwork involved in this, but our fabulous Head Nurse Kelly, became a dab hand at this and became Stanley’s best friend! We found it easier if one person dealt with uploading evidence as it was easier to keep a track of where we were then. In each award you can either receive a ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ award and of course we were aiming for ‘Outstanding’, but we were not sure if we would be able to turn our dream into reality.
At the beginning we didn’t realise how much paperwork was required, so as we said, gathering it all took a lot of time. We had regular practice meetings to discuss the awards and explain how we were going to rely heavily on team work and how these awards were based on our behaviours and actions and it wasn’t just a box ticking exercise. We prepared PowerPoints for the staff to make it a bit more interactive and interesting. It really is important to prepare the whole team for a lot of questions on inspection day. Although our inspector did spend time going through paperwork and our patient/client records on the day, she spent a lot of time with our staff as well. She had a timetable throughout the day of what staff she wanted to speak to when. It is really necessary to have your whole team on board, as it is a real team effort and not just the work of one or two people. Some of our staff were more nervous than others at the prospect of the inspection, so preparation was crucial. Our Senior Clinical Director came in for an afternoon and did a mock inspection with the staff which I think really helped calm everyone down and we were really grateful for this. Preparing for the inspection and gathering all the relevant documents was a huge team effort so if you are thinking of applying for awards, the whole practice needs to be on board.
We have a main site and a branch practice. We applied for two of the awards at our main practice and one at our branch.
Our inspector was with us for a full day and a half to assess both sites and it was a very nerve-wracking couple of days. Our inspector was really lovely and put us all at ease but it was still nerve wracking!!We kept the day as busy as it normally would be so she could see a normal working day. Our inspector even spoke to clients while she was there. Our team did so well with being put on the spot and being asked so many questions; we were so proud of everybody.
The end of the two days came, and we were delighted and relieved to hear we had gained ‘Outstanding’ in all three awards over both our sites! All the blood sweat, and tears had paid off and we couldn’t wait to shout it from the roof tops!
At the beginning it felt like such a mountain to climb and probably took around eight months to complete but it was worth it. And now, we are thinking about doing it all again this year and applying for three more awards. We should probably have a certificate for madness!
The RCVS PSS awards system is a really good idea. It is very thorough and it really does rely on a practice doing things correctly all the time, not just for a few weeks round the inspection. It encourages us to look at how we deal with issues on a day to day basis, whether it’s how we deal with a specific client situation or how we deal with a patient, or how we act as a team. It doesn’t allow for complacency and makes sure we stand out from the crowd. It really helps us embrace the “Client, Clinical, People” ethos of CVS as a whole.
We want to say a huge thank you to our whole team for the effort they put in to helping us achieve our awards, thank you. We couldn’t have done it without each and every one of you!