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How helpful would it be to have your chief executive visit your ward or unit?

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2 June, 2014


Ashton S (2014) Leadership walkrounds in mental healthcare. Nursing Times; 110: 23, 21-23.



Patient safety leadership walkrounds are designed to assist healthcare leaders to improve patient safety. At 2gether Foundation Trust, walkrounds have been developed in mental health settings. They ensure that executives are informed first- hand about the safety concerns of frontline staff, while ensuring staff are listened to and supported when issues of safety are raised. Patient safety and quality improvements have been implemented over time through this process.


Let’s discuss…

  • How helpful would it be to have your chief executive visit your ward or unit?
  • How often do hospital leaders visit your area of work?
  • The article explains how walkrounds help hospital leaders to listen to the concerns of frontline staff working in mental health, could this be effective in other areas?

Readers' comments (13)

  • Not helpful in anyway: one chief exec whose mantra was "Bring me solutions, not problems" which tells you all you need to know about how much they were prepared to listen to staff; one who was so vindictive that they publicly challenged and threatened me over some mild, and entirely accurate, comments I made about poor staffing levels in my service; a couple of others who had no idea about how services ran, yet would try to tell experienced clinicians how to do their jobs.

    There isn't space to detail what I have seen and heard of other senior managers, including directors of nursing...

    Haven't met a senior manager that I would trust to listen to frontline staff.

    This is from 30 years in mental health nursing.

    Was this actually a serious question?

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • No good at all - the Nurse Manager would make (read insist on) everything appearing "just chipper" for the duration of the visit.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • totally agreed with the above comments ,once they finished their intentional rounding on the ward and listen few people. i don't know how much they take on board to help the front line staff.

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  • How can I put so much blame on the Chief when the ward managers are so afraid to speak up.
    We recently had a meeting with a senior manager and the Sister in charge made every thing look so nice and calm. A couple of staff spoke up, but were then shut down by one junoir sister saying to calm down and that the problem is being dealt with.

    Why is nursing in so much turmoil?
    Does the Chief really understand the problems?
    Are the Senior Ward Managers getting the message across to the Chief ? If not Why not?
    If the Chief is aware, then Why are they not held accountable?

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  • The problem is at Ward Manager level. The ball is in their court.

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  • The chief exec did visit our department, he said all the right things and the ward manager said all the right things back to him - and nothing changed!

    complete waste of time.

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  • Over payed , a paper exercise tick the right boxes
    Don't care about front line staff who work harder no staff ,mistakes can be made but will you get support NO .

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  • Might be more useful if frontline staff were included in CE meetings, and given the same respect

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  • I would like our lead nurse and service manager to visit. If the people who are meant to oversee the units we work in don't visit then I don't see what a chief exec could do.
    The chief exec should focus on implementing strategies that meets all the government targets.

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  • I would like the lead nurses and ward managers to have to do shifts on the floor and be part of the work team for a porportion of their contracted hours. I am sure that they are too far removed from the most important part of the reason that they are in employment. That is if people never need care and medical intervention then we will not be having lead nurses or ward managers.

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  • this sums up the current state of NHS management and recruitment very well!

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  • Ours did.

    Nobody recognised her.

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  • When I was a ward manager (and a community team leader) I did raise issues such as poor staffing, high work loads, other safety concerns with the next 2 levels up from me: I was routinely ignored and side-lined to the point that I was forced out of one job.

    My sister, a general nurse, had similar experiences.

    There have always been those of us who raised issues with higher levels of management; we have not always been listened to.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

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