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A service’s journey to achieving accreditation and the positive impact
21 June 2022

Pulmonary Rehabilitation Awareness Week blog – Hayley Williamson


As part of Pulmonary Rehabilitation Awareness Week we sat down with Hayley Williamson, PR team lead at BCHC Community Respiratory Service, Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, to talk about her service's journey to achieving PRSAS accreditation and the impact of this accomplishment for herself, her team and her service.


Your service’s journey to achieving accreditation


SF: Can you describe a day in the life of a PR lead who is working on accreditation and running a PR service?

In the initial stages, trying to find that balance between the two was overwhelming. However, I soon learned that the key was to sit down, look at all my different roles and responsibilities and then delegate. I looked at what I needed to do as PR lead and what I could delegate to my team. I then protected time in my calendar that was dedicated to PRSAS; for me, this meant I spent 3 hours on a Friday morning on accreditation. As I sometimes work remotely, I would find myself working after work hours and into the evenings; this is something I do not recommend. Carving time out at the start of the process will hopefully mean that you are not having to spend late nights cramming in time to work on your submission. Time management is vital – the last thing you want is to burn out!


SF: How did you help your team understand the value of accreditation?

I was very open and transparent from the start. I made sure that my whole team understood what PRSAS is and had an open conversation and acknowledged the changes we had to make to our service (change can seem scary for some staff). I explained the reasons why we were working towards accreditation: our aim to provide gold standards of PR not only for us as a team, but more importantly for the patients that we provide a service to.


SF: What are deadly sins that people should avoid when first embarking on this journey?

Trying to do it all yourself - you are going to need support; you cannot do this by yourself. Get your senior management involved from the start and recruit as many staff members as you can.

Thinking you have all the time in the world - time management is key. You're in it for the long haul.

Feeling overwhelmed and stressed - if you are not sure, ask! Reach out to the PRSAS team. They will be able to provide you with guidance and support. 

Getting carried away with your uploading - think about what you are uploading – is it relevant? You do not want to be get to a point where you are ready to submit and have thousands of documents to sort through. Ask yourself whether everything you are submitting provides evidence that you are meeting the standards, and how it does so.


SF: How did you stay positive and maintain momentum?

I would be lying if I said I didn’t have dips, where I was having a bad day and feeling overwhelmed. On these days I would just step away, re-evaluate, and go back to it. I made sure I constantly talked about any issues with staff to get a second opinion, as well as asking them review what I had done with a fresh pair of eyes. When you are bogged down and overwhelmed and feel like it's impossible, strip it right back. Where were we when we started this process and where are we now? What is the end goal? Knowing how far I had come from the start line kept me motivated. Once we got the accreditation, it made it all worth it.


SF: What changes have you implemented through the accreditation journey that has led to improvements for your staff and patients?

We implemented lots of changes. For example, we implemented a PR-specific staff survey, which we used to get a better understanding of our specific staff needs. We have now introduced more training for our staff as a result of the feedback. Another noticeable change is that we have built close working relationships with different departments and made connections with senior management in our trust.


The impact of achieving accreditation


SF: What was the biggest impact achieving accreditation made for you, your team and service?

The acknowledgement that we are running a gold standard service, and the knowledge that as a team we are constantly working towards improving our service for our staff and patients.


SF: How did your service and organisation celebrate this huge achievement?

A large glass of wine when I got home. We plugged our achievement everywhere we could: in our magazine, newsletter, and forum. We spoke about it at every opportunity, at a service level and at the wider respiratory team level. We informed all the line managers about what this meant for our service and what a massive achievement it was for us – as well as for the trust. We have also put the accreditation stamp on our letters and relevant documents, including our referral form.

I think achieving accreditation brings a real sense of team accomplishment, so we made sure that everyone that had been involved at every level felt included in the celebrations.


SF: What would make this celebration even better?

I think it would be nice to have a day where we could celebrate with the PRSAS team, as they were so involved in the process; it would be nice to have the office team more involved in the celebrations. It would also be nice to celebrate annual reviews with other accredited services, giving services a chance to network with one another.


SF: Describe PRSAS in one word.

I want to say it is life-changing, but it's not life-changing; it is service changing. Your service will definitely be changed for the better by going through accreditation. 


Hayley Williamson was speaking to Snah Fatah, administrator at PRSAS

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