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Last Updated: Monday, 13 November 2006, 14:07 GMT
Free coffee incentive for nurses
Hospital nurses (Henny Allis/ Science Photo Library)
The scheme recognises positive attitudes displayed by nurses
Nurses are being offered free coffee and biscuits as part of a incentive scheme to improve patient care at King's College Hospital in London.

The NHS trust in Lambeth, south-east London, brought in the system after patient surveys highlighted concerns about how nurses engaged with patients.

Nursing boss Selina Trueman, who introduced the scheme, said it was about acting on what patients had said.

The Patients Association said it feared the wrong people were being employed.

Cascade effect

Under the scheme, which was introduced in June, matrons and senior nursing staff hand out thank you cards to nurses seen showing a positive attitude or engaging with patients or relatives.

Every two weeks the cards are then entered into a draw and those who are selected are offered a free coffee and biscuits at the hospital cafe.

It is designed to get them to want to be at work and to enjoy being at work
Selina Trueman
Head of nursing for medicine

Ms Trueman, the hospital's head of nursing for medicine, said the scheme was based on the US philosophy Fish which has four basic principles; Be there, Play, Make their day and Choose your attitude.

"I identified it and thought about how we could use it to motivate staff and get them to behave how we wanted them to", she said.

Alongside the rewards, staff also take part in teaching sessions.

"It is designed to get them to want to be at work and to enjoy being at work... and have a cascade effect to give everyone a better deal.

"People have really taken to this, if the staff did not want to do this, nothing would make them do it", she said.

Katherine Murphy, of the Patients Association said: "They shouldn't feel as though they have to offer nurses an incentive, it is part and parcel of the job.

"The role of nurses has changed and we are looking at whether they are recruiting the right people into the profession."

The Royal College of Nursing declined to comment.

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