International Practice Development Journal


Title of ArticleHear me, value me and see the results
Type of ArticleCritical Commentary
Author/sKay Riley
ReferenceVolume 4, Issue 2, Article 1
Date of PublicationNovember 2014
Keywordsstaff engagement

When I was a ward sister interviewing new recruits to my unit, I would always ask the question: ‘Who is more important, the patients or the staff?’ I always received the same reply: ‘The patients’. Without any doubt, our primary purpose is to care for patients, but I always hoped one brave soul would say the staff were more important. Ever since I became a ward sister, I have strongly held the belief that if we look after our team members, a high standard of patient care, delivered with compassion, will be the result.

Since that time, there has been an increasing body of evidence to support the strong link between staff satisfaction and patient outcomes and experience. Using data from the annual NHS staff survey, West (2013) showed that staff engagement was strongly associated with patient satisfaction, quality of care, financial performance, staff absenteeism and even patient mortality. Despite the strength of the evidence, we have seen a disappointing response across the NHS in terms of listening to, valuing and engaging staff.

To what extent have we focused on the needs of NHS staff? Staff who, it could be argued, no longer enjoy their customary level of affection among the public or the media. Staff who find themselves under greater workload pressures than ever before. Time and time again, we find staff are reporting feeling stressed, bullied and harassed at work. The Boorman Report (2009) found that many staff do not believe their employer takes a positive interest in their health and wellbeing.

This article by Kay Riley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 3.0 License.

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