Close your eyes … relax … and breathe … concentrate on your breathing …

Rachel Giles, FoNS Inspire Improvement Fellow

No, it’s not assisting someone in labour! This is what I started with when I was facilitating a culture visualisation with some members of the ward team. FoNS Creating Caring Cultures: What is culture (resources)

I am currently on the FoNS Inspire Improvement Fellowship Programme. I have met with like-minded professionals, who, through the use of practice development methodologies, want to improve themselves as leaders, the team, and patient care. We have shared ideas, challenged each other and supported each other.

As part of the programme, I chose to facilitate a culture visualisation with some of my team. Ward meetings can be quite dry and non-participative, full of information-giving. I wanted to use our ward meeting to carry out a culture visualisation with the staff. Using practice development techniques is not something my team are used to so I started by explaining that as part of the Inspire Improvement Fellowship I wanted staff to think about the ward culture. Once they had all closed their eyes and got past the giggling phase; nerves and embarrassment, I asked them to think: What is it like to work on the ward? What does it feel like when you arrive at work? What do you think about on the way to work – are you worried, excited? When you walk on the ward what do you see, hear, smell, feel?

Following the visualisation of culture and the ward environment the team members present, created a ‘picture’ of what they envisaged as part of the exercise. They all sat round a table covered with card, craft items, magazines, newspapers and plenty of glue and sticky tape! The results took the form of maps, 3D art and all-round

Rachel Giles: Journey to work

creativity (see pictures). Once completed, each member explained their creation and what they thought about the ward culture.

The team members who took part were a combination of well-established and new staff. Every person reflected on their creativity and explained what they felt at work. The newer members fed back how welcoming the ward was – music to my ears! One of the new members of staff spoke openly about what a privilege it was to be a nurse and be able to bless the lives of the patients she cared for. At this point you could hear a pin drop, the emotion felt by the team was obvious to all present.

Learning about practice development techniques from the FoNS Inspire Fellowship Programme has given me the confidence to take a step into

Rachel Giles: Welcome

the unknown. The team had never undertaken a culture visualisation before and it was an opportunity for everyone to reflect together on the ward culture and environment and to use our time together in a different and more effective way. The feedback when individuals explained their creative work initiated conversations and discussion which was positive for the team, and for me. This has given me the confidence to try new methods and approaches and look at new ways of initiating conversation and reflection together, with the aim to create a person-centred culture on the ward. I would recommend anyone giving this a try – It was great to get staff to share how they saw the ward culture and environment and what was important to them. One of the main themes was how welcoming and friendly the ward was, it was good to share the positive feedback with the wider team.

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