A day in the life of: Hollie Stearman, Operations Centre Matron

The Site Operations Centre is at the heart of our hospital and deals with all type of operations, from bed management to staffing, emergencies and patients’ flow.

It’s the equivalent for us of what a control room is for an airport, where information is constantly shared and actions get escalated to ensure patients and colleagues safety at all time. The phone never stops ringing.

“In this job you must act quickly and decisively,” said Hollie Stearman, who is one of the eight matrons working in the Operations Centre alongside the site practitioners.

“On average every five minutes there’s something important I’m called to decide upon and everything I escalate has consequences for the hospital.

“It’s a very hands-on, intense and pressurised work, but I love the fact I’m working to make sure colleagues and patients are safe and patients’ journeys through the hospital are as smooth as possible.”

Hollie’s shift begins at 7.30am with the handover from the night team.

This is followed by a patients’ flow meeting that helps her to understand the overall situation of the hospital and how many patients need to be admitted and discharged on the day.

Cardiac arrest calls, fire calls and security calls as well as conversations with relatives and patients and neighbouring acute Trusts and community teams are sandwiched between other meetings that occupy almost her entire day. She hardly puts her pen down.

“Every three hours we are getting an update on the situation at the hospital and from ED colleagues,” she added.

“Alongside my team we’re constantly called to take decisions, sometimes difficult ones, to ensure patients receive the best possible care.

“If there’s an emergency, we escalate to the hospital’s ‘Gold Command’ and liaise with other local agencies such as police, the mental health Trust and our security.”

Hollie joined the team seven years ago after having worked as site practitioner and deputy sister in AMU.

“During the pandemic we had to change overnight the way we were working,” she remembered.

“Ultimately it was down to us to decide where patients had to go, the whole ‘yellow’ and ‘red’ areas were designed in a very short time – it was stressful, but we managed to support teams on the wards and do what was best for everyone.

“Having good communication skills and an appreciation of how each of the different departments in the hospital works is helpful to understand their pressures and make the right decisions.

“We would not be able to do it alone as a team, we rely on each other across all divisions and work with colleagues to find solutions.

“The situations I face are often complex, there’s no easy fix and implementing the right approach can be time consuming.

“Having the support from the teams across the Trust, and in particular the Emergency Department, Acute Medical Units and the Emergency Assessment Units, Complex Discharge Hub and the Safer Staffing leads, is really important.”

Hollie normally ends her works shift at 8pm unless she works at night when there’s only one Site Operation Matron on site and three site practitioners who are responsible for the entire hospital.

“When I finish work, I unwind on the drive home and think about my shift to ensure I haven’t forgotten anything and I’ve handed over to the next team,” she said.

“On my days off I enjoy spending time at the gym, walking my dog, meeting friends and staying with my family. Having a healthy work and home life balance is important to me.”

Would you like to join Hollie and work in the Operations Centre? There’s currently a vacancy for Band 6 Deputy Sister/Charge Nurse.

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