Lifelong learning – it’s not just about me

Sean Daly, FoNS Inspire Improvement Fellow

I am just about to finish my second block of learning sessions with the FoNS Inspire Improvement Fellowship Programme and things are starting to make sense (as explained to me at pre interview). I didn’t really know what to expect initially, but was honoured to be offered a place on this exciting yearlong fellowship programme. I am enjoying collaborating with the other members of the group and realising that although we may work in different clinical settings – we all face similar challenges. It is good being able to meet virtually each week to share ideas using some of the learning tools Jo provides us with and to discuss how we might improve something or take reassurance that we are on the right path. We are all one care sector and should not feel isolated in our areas of expertise. It would be amazing if we could all work together on a much larger scale to meaningfully look at ‘the way things are done around here’ to improve cultures for the people we work with as well as those in need of our care services. Learning Zone – Culture Change Resources

I also really like the way the online sessions are structured; we usually start by taking turns saying how we are by using various visual aids (using for example pictures with a particular theme or a mood board with emotive words). Jo then gives us a specific area to think about and we either work alone or in groups with the end goal to come up with something creative to explain what we spoke about.  We then end the sessions by checking out with each other again; on what we have learnt and hope to take forward into practice. I find it a really motivational and inspiring part of my week when we meet up each Thursday.

I realised that as a leader, I am always thinking that I need to have all the answers or can become disheartened when the team don’t take on board my suggestions – however I’ve learnt that I need to facilitate change and enable my team to feel empowered to make changes, and crucially, understand why change may be needed so they are not feeling like they are just being told what to do.

Using my Circle of Influence , as described by Stephen Covey, and working on things we can change immediately (small steps) is more likely to succeed. This can then start to influence short term goals (what can we do next), which will lead to long term goals and positive outcomes (where we aim to be in the bigger picture).

Some of the stand out tools that have been really helpful in my learning have been the Evoke Cards and using Emotional Touchpoints. The Evoke cards are visual aids, which we can use to start a conversation. I used these with my care team following a nutrition audit and once the actions had been completed. We picked a card to discuss how it felt before and then chose a different Evoke card to discuss how it felt after the action plan had been completed. It is a really useful tool to have, as it encouraged more active participation and reflection amongst the team.

I realise that staff are extremely busy and may not always take the time to stop and think about the way things are done, with focus being on getting the task done. Another tool I found thought provoking was the culture visualisation where you think about what you, see, hear, smell, feel around you. I am planning to use this with the care team and give them the time to create a vision of the care we provide for people living with dementia.

I realise that the Inspire improvement Fellowship is not a quick fix programme, and what I am learning is that it is a lifelong resource that I can use to facilitate change. I am looking forward to the next part of the programme and I would strongly recommend any nurse leaders out there that are passionate about making a positive change for themselves as a leader and how they can inspire their teams, to apply. I feel well supported by Jo and the co-facilitators, but also the other fellows taking part in the programme – they have given me so many new ideas/ ways of thinking/ motivational quotes and the list goes on.

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