Nursing in Mind

Claire Shaw, Lead Nurse for Nursing Development & Research and Peter Griffiths, Consultant Nurse

Peter Griffiths

Claire Shaw

We wanted to share a new programme we’re working on called Nursing in Mind. It starts with the idea that at times, nursing can be reduced to tasks and targets with an emphasis on knowledge of facts and policy. Sometimes this is at the expense of valuing the quality of relationships, care and our capacity to think, and our ability to process our daily work and interactions. We know from experience that nurses often feel frustrated and overwhelmed by their daily encounters with patients, families, colleagues and managers.

‘Nursing in Mind’ is a new monthly programme that has been developed as an opportunity for nurses to meet one another, to learn and to share experience. It aims to look beneath the surface and beyond the practical, exploring the issues and events that shape our experience. We have all felt pushed or pulled into acting ‘out of character’, experienced intense feelings towards our patients and colleagues, both positive and negative and felt pressured to act in ways we later regret or worry about. Nursing in Mind aims to provide a framework for understanding these experiences, an opportunity to learn from experience and a space to share with others.

The programme has been developed in collaboration with nurses from different clinical backgrounds (working within A&E, paediatrics and the prison service) and nursing colleagues at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust. The trust has a long history of work-based reflective learning and the programme builds on this to provide a space in which to explore the dilemmas and dynamics of contemporary nursing. At each monthly meeting, there will be a presentation by a guest speaker, a space to meet and talk with others and a work discussion group in which individuals can present and explore issues and experiences from their own work.

The programme is underpinned by several key beliefs; that being able to understand interpersonal and organisational dynamics makes our work more interesting and enjoyable, that developing our capacity for thinking makes us more reflective, resilient and responsive practitioners and that sharing with colleagues can reduce the burden and risk of burn-out. The structure, approach and values aim to provide a programme that is restorative, stimulating and developmental.

You might be wondering what we’re actually going to be talking about! Our first guest speaker is Laura Glendinning, a nurse and systemic family therapist who will be talking about families with a physically ill member/patient, highlighting the family’s impact on the prognosis of the patient and the impact of the illness on the family’s functioning and the implications of this for the nursing task. Other speakers will be exploring the phenomena of the sense of ‘not being good enough’, the contemporary identity of nursing, working with patients with medically unexplained symptoms, issues for nurses related to ageing, longer term care, illness and death. The programme starts in September and we’re hoping to share ideas with others as we go along, keep an eye open!

If you’d like to find out more do get in touch with either me ([email protected]), our CPD team [email protected] or visit our webpage: Nursing in Mind

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