If you want to understand the impact Mrs Mary Angelo is having on stroke care at Al Qassimi Hospital in Sharjah, UAE, Mrs Angelo is the last person you should ask. This seasoned nurse, whose smile lights up your screen during a Zoom call for which she has set aside precious minutes from her busy day, consistently downplays her role in ensuring the hospital’s stroke treatment data is kept up to date.
“It takes no more than 10 minutes per patient,” she insists about entering the treatment data for each and every ischaemic stroke patient at Al Qassimi Hospital into RES-Q, the stroke care quality registry that also serves as eligibility platform for WSO Angels Awards.
But if you multiply 10 minutes by the number of ischaemic patients admitted to the hospital (60 in May 2022), it’s soon evident that Mrs Angelo spends up to 10 extra hours every month in front of a computer screen to ensure the RES-Q form for each patient is populated with the data she has collected from three different departments, from admission to discharge.
But data entry is only the beginning. Mrs Angelo’s real interest lies in the stories the numbers tell and what they reveal about treatment quality at her hospital and about opportunities for improving the care received by patients with acute ischaemic stroke.
It is for most part good news, as over the past two years Al Qassimi Hospital has won eight Angels Awards, becoming only the second hospital in the United Arab Emirates to earn this distinction.
Hospitals are recognised with Gold, Platinum or Diamond awards based on their performance against measures aligned with international best practice. Gold status for Al Qassimi Hospital means that more than 50% of ischaemic stroke patients who are treated with thrombolysis receive treatment within 60 minutes of arrival – and this is a number Mrs Angelo watches with a keen eye.
Thanks to her vigilance and gift for analysis, for example, it was brought to light that treatment delays occurred when residents were on duty, alerting the hospital to the importance of instructing younger doctors about the importance of speed in treating stroke.
This past April and May, a period during which over 100 stroke patients were admitted to the hospital, Mrs Angelo has been noticing a positive trend. Recanalisation rates have increased, a significant number of patients underwent thrombolysis within 45 minutes and the proportion treated in under 60 minutes grew to 75%, raising expectations that Al Qassimi Hospital will soon qualify for a Platinum award.
If this is the case, Mrs Angelo is likely to be the first to know and no-one will be prouder than the nurse who has dedicated over three decades to patient care at this hospital.
“It was passion,” she says of what drew her to the profession almost 30 years ago. She assumed responsibility for stroke nursing at the hospital six years ago after the Clinical Care Programme Certification (CCPC) for ischaemic stroke was first mooted at the hospital and a neurologist recommended her for the position. After pandemic-related delays, the way is now clear for CCPC implementation, which among other things means that the quiet room from which Mrs Angelo takes our call could soon be inaugurated as a dedicated stroke unit.
Support has been growing for her quality monitoring role – an unofficial one she took on two years ago simply because a neurologist had asked for her help. No-one asked her to stop, so Mrs Angelo just kept going, diligently assembling patient information into a platform for quality improvement and building the hospital’s legacy one data field at a time.
“My passion is still new,” she says, shrugging off questions about sacrificing personal and family time in order to do more than duty asks for.
So it’s passion rather than prizes that drives stroke care excellence at Al Qassimi Hospital, and the dedication of a nurse with a smile as bright as diamonds, and a heart as good as gold.