One of the things that Helen Christodoulides cares passionately about is the health and wellbeing of colleagues, not just nurses but that of any professional or member of staff working in the delivery of healthcare.
Over recent years at Leeds Teaching Hospital I’ve been pleased to be witness, and be involved with, the progress we have made to raise awareness of colleagues’ wellbeing, and develop our health and wellbeing offer.
With that in mind, I have been an active member of our Trust’s Adult Schwartz Centre Rounds operational group. The Schwartz Centre Round (SCR) provides an opportunity for staff to reflect on the personal and emotional impact of caring.
Rounds are open to all staff and provide an opportunity to share what it feels like to work in our hospitals. They are designed for colleagues to support each other in providing compassionate care.
The sessions we have delivered have been viewed as valuable by staff: through word of mouth as well as more formal communication routes we have managed to fill a small lecture theatre with up to sixty multi professional colleagues each time, and each session has evaluated well.
“Many nurses work long days and so the ‘spare’ staff in the middle of the day no longer exist, to the impact of junior doctor rotations on developing effective working relationships with ward-based nurses”
It was only when reflecting with a Consultant medical colleague recently that I realised that his view on the SCRs was not always as positive as mine.
He proceeded to tell me how he had envisaged many more junior doctors attending the SCRs and taking the opportunity to meet and hear from other colleagues, particularly nurses on the challenges they face and how they overcome these.
He explained how, during his early career, the time that he spent with nursing colleagues in practice was invaluable, how nurses had taught him not only clinical skills but also shared social, cultural and emotional skills and knowledge that he felt his medical colleagues of the current generation were missing out on.
He reflected on the diminishing number of opportunities doctors and nurses had to spend together, from fewer nurses attending ward rounds, to fewer ward-based teaching events, many nurses work long days and so the ‘spare’ staff in the middle of the day no longer exist, to the impact of junior doctor rotations on developing effective working relationships with ward-based nurses.
Whilst recognising that I hadn’t seen many junior doctors at SCRs I had never realised that my medical colleague felt this absence of nurse-doctor interactions in practice, that they had been so important to him, nor that he wanted SCRs to be an opportunity for us to try and redress some of this.
“When I really thought about it, I couldn’t really think of many other examples of where junior doctors and nurses spend time together”
I know SCRs are just one opportunity open to multi-professional staff to learn and reflect together, but when I really thought about it, despite some brilliant examples in local specialties of doctors and nurses purposefully arranging to learn together outside of formal clinical governance meetings, or in multi-professional quality improvement projects, I couldn’t really think of many other examples of where junior doctors and nurses spend time together.
The topic of education amongst healthcare professionals, team working, emotional wellbeing and resilience are all vast, and I certainly can’t address them all here.
As a director of nursing who spends much of her role concerned with providing safe nurse staffing, I now feel that, despite the varied plans to innovate amongst our profession, I have not given enough thought to the impact that the changing size and shape of the nursing workforce is having on my medical colleagues’ learning and development.
In the meantime I will certainly consult more with medical colleagues and try and get some more junior doctors interested in coming to SCRs.
Helen is the Director of Nursing (Corporate), providing leadership that supports teams to deliver high quality care