Reflections on Resilience: Post-Pandemic and Post Office

Caron Sanders-Crook, Operations Manager, Canford Healthcare & RBCS Social Care Advisory Group Member

At a recent Resilience-based Clinical Supervision for Social Care (RBCS) Advisory Group meeting we were discussing issues that may arise within the group and how the social care sector may be affected by events in society. As we approach our fourth year of being post-pandemic, we discussed how we have not seen the peak of post-pandemic ‘fall out.’ It may be four years, but we are still recovering, and adjusting.

This led us to discuss the feelings of society at large and the social care nurses and carers we work with, and what might function as a trigger during the RBCS sessions. Different things can become a trigger when one is in a safe and protected space such as the one RBCS provides. There is no accounting for what may arise.

Providing individual caregivers, a space to explore their feelings and move forward is not available to everybody. If you work for larger providers, similar programmes may be available but if you are part of a small, one-off care home, members of your team may not have even heard of RBCS.

For many, supervision is a punitive exercise, only available to you if something has gone wrong. But this project is different, it is knocking down walls and barriers to enable us to care for the people who care every day and give so much of themselves in what they do.

Media coverage about politicians and misconduct has been a part of everyday life over the last year or two. Then there were heightened feelings as the Covid enquiry got underway: The painful experiences for families resurfaced, along with the anger, the guilt, and the reminder of all those making the policies and guidance but not following them. All this can create a divide and reinforce the ‘them and us’ mentality that many feel exists.

Things went quiet for a while as we approached the festive season and then the drama about the Post Office scandal aired in the new year. Although the number of people, we in the care sector, will encounter who have been directly affected by the post office scandal is small, the feelings it has generated are the same. The mass feeling of betrayal and eroded trust in an institution relied on for essential services is similar and will act as a trigger for many.

There may be feelings such as anger, disappointment, and a deep sense of injustice, of being let down by an organisation meant to serve the public interest; an organisation that has been found to have engaged in misconduct. Society as a whole will come together to support a common cause and to seek accountability and transparency and to rebuild trust in something or someone that will not let them down.

The feelings of disempowerment and not feeling heard can have a devastating effect on mental health for the individual and those around them, not to mention those wrongly accused of something they did not do.

Nurses and carers may feel they cannot speak about these feelings at home so the only outlet they may have to air their views with little or no impact or consequence could be at work. As we know workplaces are also social contexts too, especially in supporting each other.

RBCS is not a counselling service but is a supportive safe space where people can explore the issues that are troubling them and affect how they carry out their work when caring for a vulnerable population. The facilitation of these sessions is carried out by meticulously trained facilitators who have a wealth of resources and expertise underpinning what they do via FoNS.

RBCS can help you build coping strategies and give you the strength to reach out to relevant professionals for help should you need to. Group work can provide a mechanism for you to organise your thoughts and emotions and get them to a place where they are manageable, reducing stress and enabling a measured and methodical response to a situation in a way that is right for you.

This restorative form of supervision has been so needed in our sector and I am so proud and honoured to have been invited to be part of the advisory group with FoNS. It is a privilege to be a part of this groundbreaking adventure we have embarked on with FoNS and other expert professionals from across the sector.


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