Digging deep – Creating Caring Cultures in the workplace

Jo Odell, FoNS Practice Facilitator

Now more than ever, as the world learns to live with the Covid 19 virus; as health and social care services struggle to get services back up to pre-pandemic levels; as nurses are feeling tired, under enormous pressure and possibly feeling like they want to leave nursing to enable a more work/life balance, we need to create workplaces that are caring, safe and effective for both patients and staff.

At FoNS, we believe that the change needs to start at the culture level – this is what will fundamentally influence people’s experience of giving and receiving care. And this is the approach we take with our programmes for organisations.

In 2021, FoNS was commissioned to facilitate a Creating Caring Cultures programme for 10 ward/ team nurse leaders and practice development nurses in a district general hospital. The face-to-face workshops and virtual active learning sessions were facilitated by one of our experienced practice development facilitators. We use an active learning approach, where participants are encouraged to discover their own learning through personal reflection, group dialogue and the use of creativity. Participants put their learning into practice between sessions and then come back to share their ‘golden moments’ or successes, and reflect on difficulties at subsequent sessions.

The sessions are very participatory, and reflective and encourage people to evaluate their own and shared learning. During the active learning sessions, the participants also collated what they wanted to celebrate under heading of personal changes and practice changes. The examples given below show the ‘deep’ nature of the learning that had happened. The changes they wanted to celebrate were:

Personal Change

  • Confidence to be the leader I want to be
  • New ways of thinking and approaching things
  • Active listening and negotiating skills to nurture staff
  • Personal transformation
  • The importance of the way you approach situations and the effect you have on a situation

Practice Change

  • Creating a good learning environment
  • Introducing ‘check ins’ with the team
  • Shared decision making
  • More collaborative working/ learning

They then worked together to present what they had achieved as a result of the programme and five participants (pictured right with FoNS CEO Joanne Bosanquet) presented this in May at their local “Celebration of Nursing” conference. You can see the film on YouTube.

The participants also wrote letters to their senior nursing team to highlight the impact of the programme for them. Here are some excerpts:

‘I found out that for change to be successful- it needs to be in collaboration with the whole team. It helps me to be kinder to my colleagues by checking in on them, and focusing on golden moments. If problems arise, I know that with the help of my team WE can find solutions together. Change and positive value comes with togetherness.’

‘From attending this course, we have learnt new skills to promote a positive culture, increase staff involvement, wellbeing, giving the team a voice and the importance of celebrating every success no matter how big or small’

‘The programme is far removed from any programme I have previously undertaken and has allowed me alternative thinking for leading a team. The journey has made me feel vulnerable at times, opening my eyes to how others feel. I had clarity in my understanding that I cannot change on my own and to take one small step at a time. The vulnerability I felt has given me the confidence to share with the team, the positives that I believe could allow the team to feel valued’

‘The course has enabled me to network with other trust colleagues to find creative ways to improve outcomes for staff and patients and improve their wellbeing’

We hope you enjoyed watching the video and reading all the really positive feedback from this programme. At FoNS we can develop and facilitate bespoke development programmes for you and your team needs. We have adapted all our programmes for the virtual world and have successfully transferred how we facilitate an active learning approach face to face into the virtual space.

Contact us to chat through your needs, we look forward to hearing from you.

Don’t know where to start? Well you can look at the Creating Cultures resources which are free to access. Learning Zone – Culture Change Resources (fons.org). If you feel you want more support then you could look at commissioning a bespoke programme. Bespoke Programmes – About (fons.org)

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