Singing to Raise Awareness of Pressure Ulcer Prevention
23 December 2019 | Helen Chapman, Queen's Nurse
A group of community NHS staff have created and performed an adapted version of the hit Pet Shop Boys song ‘It’s a Sin’ to raise awareness of pressure ulcer prevention. Queen’s Nurse Helen Chapman tells the inspiring story.
Community staff from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals (STH) recorded their version of the 1987 number one, retitled as ‘It’s SSKIN’, at studios in the city centre.
The song will be used as a resource for community health workers learning about pressure ulcer prevention, but it is hoped it may also be used more widely to raise awareness.
SSKIN is an acronym for a five-step approach for pressure ulcer prevention:
- Surface: ensure the correct mattress, cushion, heel protector etc is used
- Skin inspection: early inspection means early detection
- Keep moving: change position often
- Incontinence/moisture: ensure the skin is kept clean and dry
- Nutrition/hydration: ensure the right diet and appropriate fluids
The lyrics refer to the risk factors of pressure damage, the signs and symptoms of pressure ulcers and how to prevent them. The adapted chorus is:
Everyone you ever see
Everything you ever do
Every place you’ve ever been
Everywhere you’re going to
The words for the alternative version of the song were written by Maria Levesley, a Nurse Lead in the Integrated Care Team, who is also the lead singer in the video.
Maria studied for a degree in music before she trained as a nurse. She said: “We wanted to do something to promote awareness amongst out to staff. At our monthly pressure ulcer meeting, our Tissue Viability Nurse Consultant Brenda King had the initial idea to do some kind of rap.
“I took the idea and started trying to put some words to songs. This song came to mind, as SSKIN fitted well in place of ‘a sin’, and it went from there.”
Maria said that the help that was received in producing the song was “far more than I ever imagined.”
The Pet Shop Boys gave permission for their work to be used, and Sheffield based songwriter and record producer Eliot Kennedy offered free recording and video through Steelworks Studios, Foundry Studios and Ink and Water Designs.
Maria said: “I have written a few lines for the church panto before, but nothing like this. However, I sing in a band and I’m in a choir, so I do lots of singing. I’ve also done backing vocals and recording with a friend who is a singer-songwriter, so being the lead singer didn’t faze me.”
Other members of staff from NHS community teams feature with Maria in the video and recording.
Maria said: “It has turned out really well. The staff have been brilliant and have really got involved. We used it at our Stop the Pressure awareness event where there were STH hospital and community staff, as well as other care providers.
“We wanted to use it as a training device for STH community staff initially, but it has already grown and we feel it could be used more widely for training and awareness work.”
The tenacity Maria and her colleagues showed in seeking support to the deliver the initiative is commendable. This inspiring project demonstrates just how innovative, pro-active and passionate our community staff are and alongside delivering an important educational message, the value of joy in the workplace.
Helen Chapman, Queen’s Nurse
You might also be interested in reading about a nurse-led project in Northern Ireland aimed at improving leg ulcer care.