Staff Engagement
​The Trust has been encouraging colleagues to come up with ideas that will help their department to work more efficiently and in different ways to benefit their patients. We’ve been collecting some of the stories from staff who have put those ideas into action and will be sharing them through these pages.

Improving Communication in Maternity

​Staff engagement and communication can be difficult within small teams so how to deal with communication in a large group proves especially challenging.

In the Birth Centre, this can be complicated further by colleagues within an integrated service working not only across different units within the hospital (Birth Centre, antenatal, postnatal) off site as well as in the community.

The team worked together to come up with some simple yet innovative ways of solving two particular problems surrounding communication within a large and diverse team.

Julie Clarke is the Midwifery Matron, she said: “We came up with a relatively simple solution to our staff communication issues by sending out alerts and
​memos via a group email. The numbers are big and can be difficult to manage but we’ve maintained the list and it’s working very well because we know that every member of our team receives the same, joined up message.

“We found that staff prefer this method of communication because they can access messages at home, at work or out in the community on their phones so dissemination is always timely. It also means that such messages are received by colleagues on leave or working difference shift patterns.
​“The second issue concerned staff returning from long term sickness or maternity leave. We learned that staff returning to work after a long period of time sometimes felt anxious about not being up to date with their competencies. As a result of this feedback we looked at ways to address this.

“What we did was to set up an audit file and a memo file so that we could display all new audits and memos which are kept in a file for 12 months. This ensures that anyone who was absent for a significant length know that they can look through these documents and find out what’s required to catch up with any changes that took place during their time away. It means that any important messages, changes in service or essential training that were required to continue to treat our patients effectively could be easily accessed through these files.”

Thanks to staff feedback, Julie and her team were able to work together to develop simple solutions to relatively small problems and this has resulted in a happier and more informed team.


Emergency Department innovate to communicate

Our Emergency Department has worked very harder to engage there staff and come up with two innovative solutions to improve communication and address a long running problem. Kari Whitaker is a Healthcare Assistant in ED, currently on secondment as a Clinical Education and Training Practitioner in the Education Centre.

She said: “Every morning at 9 o’clock we have a huddle that is attended by all members of staff who are able, where any and all relevant information is cascaded. This ranges from information about our patients to what’s happening in the Trust at that particular time. It all comes out of our Huddle Book which is basically a big diary that we consult for information that is relevant to that day.

“We might talk about any patient incidents that we may all need to be aware of, we’ll also be told who the named nurse is on that day, there could be information about where and when the flu vaccination clinics might be so that we can arrange for ourselves to be given the vaccine, there could also be news about changes to our drugs supplies or policies.
​“Basically, if we find out from the hospital’s usual channels of information that something will be happening on a particular day, we can put it in the book and let everyone know about it when the time comes. We’ve found that it’s worked incredibly well and we feel much better informed about what’s happening across the trust. I know it might not work in quite the same way in other departments but if you can find ten or fifteen minutes where your teams can get together then you’ll find it of huge benefit.”
​Kari’s team took the idea of a huddle a little further to address something that was very quickly becoming a major problem within the department.

“We were desperate for space,” explains Kari, “so the entire department got together in two brainstorming sessions that were hosted by Matron’s Sue Wootton and Hannah Birchall in the Innovation Centre. We split the shifts and got together over two days to allow everybody the chance to comment, discussing a whole range of possible solutions to how we could create more space.

“As a result of the discussions we came to the conclusion that our matrons could operate out of a Portakabin, allowing us to use their offices as treatment rooms. Originally we wanted to use the crane that’s being used to build the Cancer centre to drop a Portakabin into the space behind the children’s play area which is unusable because the surface needs replacing. 
​Unfortunately that wasn’t feasible but we found an alternative which was to put it where it is now, just to the right as you leave ED, close to the mobile MRI scanner.

“Estates and our Acting Chief Executive Tony Campbell got involved and it was put in place and usable within three weeks. It has come at a price, our Matrons are now based outside of the unit which has created a bit of a barrier but it has given us some breathing space in terms of capacity which is of benefit to patients.”