Jacqueline Martin speaking at a Sciana meeting in November, 2017

Jacqueline Martin speaking at a Sciana meeting in November, 2017

Jacqueline Martin - We need to focus on caring instead of just curing


Director of nursing at University Hospital Basel discusses plans for a hospital merger to provide more quality patient care

Health care systems worldwide are like fingerprints. No two countries are exactly alike, just as no two patients have the same history. As director of nursing and allied healthcare professions at the University Hospital Basel, Jacqueline Martin knows this all too well.

Martin, a member of the 2017 cohort of Sciana: The Health Leaders Network, reflected on her experience while attending the previous meeting held at Schloss Leopoldskron, in Salzburg, in November 2017. The Network is committed to inspiring new thinking and action in patient and community-centred care, capitalising on its members’ experiences in the UK, Germany, and Switzerland.

Commenting on the nursing situation in Switzerland, Martin suggested the country is in a better state than Germany in areas such as staffing levels and working conditions. Despite this, Martin believes there’s still room for improvement. She highlighted academic qualification, demographic shifts, and patient integration and support as several areas, which required further attention. 

“We are right now not really addressing [those areas] in a proper way, but we try to change our system…” said Martin. “Chronic care patients, they need a lot of support and also coaching that they are enabled to do the self-management. Right now, when people are entering a hospital and our health care system is mainly based on hospital care, we only focus on the immediate events, so we focus what needs to be cured, but those people, they also have other problems. They have chronic diseases, and they need our support also in this direction… we need more care instead of cure… our health system is very fragmented.”

Care versus cure. Moreover, integrated care is needed in the future of patient care. Her most recent work involves preparing a merger between two hospitals in different cantons in Switzerland.

“It is very important because we want to provide better quality care and also affordable care, so you can imagine. The plan is…to start as a merged hospital group in 2020, so we are right now preparing everything that is needed in order to do the merger. This is really a huge challenge because…we also have to run our hospital.”

While earning her Ph.D. abroad in the NHS in Belfast, Martin juggled her working hours simultaneously, an experience which allowed Martin to adapt and learn from failures and tackle challenges in her professional life head-on.

“It helped me a lot because it…supported me to have a more comprehensive view on health care provision and to look on health care as a system,” she elaborated. “Sometimes people think we have the best system worldwide…then you realise that health care systems are very different and each one of them has something you can learn a lot [from].”

With this in mind, Martin has used her experience with the Sciana Network to her advantage. Sciana and its members have had a significant impact on her views on developing, for example, digital opportunities for the future of health care and have taught her a great deal about new models of care with patients’ active engagement.

She visited national health systems in London, and Scotland, with another colleague from Switzerland. Learning about the various methods and strategies used in health care systems in other countries was inspiring for Martin.

“It was really a good experience to do this tour, this journey…in the NHS Highland they are bringing health care and social care together in order to provide… a better system, in order to fit the needs of the population.”

While visiting the Royal Free Hospital in London, Martin said, “We were presented with new models of care, and they also showed how they did the merger in their hospital group in order to provide better care. This excursion has helped Martin to transfer the knowledge and wisdom to her own situation with the merger of the hospitals in Switzerland.

“They showed us how they are bringing in standards and standardised work in order to improve quality…how they organise the leadership… it resonated in my head because…you need someone who is approachable, who is visible, and who is really bringing in all those values and leadership work at the site. Otherwise, you have [a] huge danger that… the hospital site is not run as it should be. Another very interesting thing was that they are opening a digital hospital site for elective surgery…I need to go visit it again. I think that it can be very inspiring for us.”

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