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It’s good to talk – especially when you’re sharing good news

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  • Do nurses speak enough about what they do well?
  • Do you find the time to share good ideas with colleagues?
  • Do you ever have the opportunity to ask other nurses or health professionals about the good things they are doing?
  • Could you save yourself reinventing the wheel by sharing more?

When was the last time you shared a great idea with a colleague or borrowed one from another organisation?

We often talk about how entering the Nursing Times Awards is a fantastic opportunity to share best practice, but we know you might not have time to read the entries we summarise on our website, and you’ll probably be far too busy to contact a finalist to ask about their idea and how you might implement it successfully.

That’s why I’m delighted that for the last two summers, catgory sponsor Nuffield Health has asked us to organise a meeting enabling its team to get together with the winners and finalists in the HRH The Prince of Wales Integrated Approaches to Care Award. The sessions are always useful and lead to co-creation or a mutual blending of ideas. As a result of last year’s meeting the 2015 winner, Teenage Cancer Trust, is working directly with Nuffield to learn how to offer health and wellbeing interventions to children with a cancer diagnosis through Nuffield’s fitness clubs.

“The Isle of Wight project has swept the board in other Awards”

And last month, we welcomed to our offices 2016 winners Hampshire Constabulary, the Isle of Wight Trust and Wessex Academic Health Science Network, along with State of Mind Sport and The Rugby Football League, whose joint entry was shortlisted for the award.

The Isle of Wight project has swept the board in other Awards since its first win with us back in November. It’s won a few HSJ Awards as well as a Patient Safety Award last week.

The concept is stunning – police officers work with mental health nurses in their local area to support individuals who have frequent mental health crises or exhibit extreme antisocial behaviour that is upsetting for them and their families, and costly for the police and the NHS. By collaborating in this way, setting boundaries and providing consequences for behaviours the initiative has had some amazing results, preventing unnecessary admissions and reducing use of expensive resources to tackle issues that have escalated. The Isle of Wight team say it was not uncommon previously for individuals experiencing a crisis to need rescue by helicopter or firefighters; they believe they have reduced dependency on these scarce resources.

The initiative has also successfully rehabilitated some of the individuals who most frequently exhibited challenging or risky behaviours, and enabled them to gain employment or have a more stable lifestyle.

“State of Mind is bringing the mental health conversation out into the open”

State of Mind’s is an equally impressive project. It started at rugby matches, and now uses sportsmen and women who have had mental health crises to talk to the public at sports fixtures, clubs, universities and schools – anywhere they have an audience – to bring the mental health conversation out into the open.

The initiative focuses on prevention, so it’s hard to quantify its impact, but at one event a man they spoke to told them he was thinking of taking his own life after losing his son. Their conversation with him made him think again, when they last saw him, he was about to become a grandfather because his other son was expecting a child imminently.

Both initiatives require commitment, energy and belief to see through, and they survive on goodwill, but what they have achieved is sensational.

Nuffield is looking at ways to support those providing the care in both these initiatives. It’s early days but this might be through its network of health and leisure centres, as well as offering facilities and perhaps building awareness of mental health issues among its own staff so they can recognise and offer support to customers.

“You can prevent you and your teams reinventing the wheel”

If there is expertise and great ideas in your organisation or team, why not spread the word by having a conversation? Often two ideas can combine and add up to more than the sum of their parts, and sometimes you can prevent you and your teams reinventing the wheel. Spreading good news and best practice also increases pride and creativity.

It seems worth repeating the old BT corporate slogan – “It’s good to talk”. Because, it really is – especially when that talk focuses on sharing ideas and doing things better, and we can never have too much of that.


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