Tell people they are making a difference, and they will instigate change themselves.
I always make sure I tell the team at The Christie how important they are and the difference they can make – whether it’s financially, clinically or through research and teaching. It’s important to make sure they know they are capable of making a huge difference.
Empowerment is a big part of what we do at The Christie. I want all staff, including nurses, to feel confident that they can make decisions.
I was in a hospital recently where the ward sister did not manage her ward budget. She said if she did, she would change her staff skill mix, run a tighter, leaner ship and she’d change the times that patients came in for surgery so they weren’t waiting around all day getting frustrated.
This is a good example of what ward sisters can do. They understand patients and can see things from their perspective – because of this they need to be listened to and given the power to make changes for the better.
I want people to see things and change them – and I try to practise what I preach here to make sure everyone knows how important this is. Having established this culture, staff actively change things in the environment that aren’t right – even if it’s just picking up a stray piece of paper or an empty paper cup.
I also think you need to have a commitment to making the change, and you have to make sure that people know you are behind improvements.
I want people to know that they are actually making a huge difference. And, even though some people may disagree, I still think it’s a privilege to work in the NHS. To me, caring for someone is a huge privilege. So, every day, I want all my staff to really think about whether they have done something that has made a difference to patients.
It’s important to set out the values that you want staff to live by. So we have a set of Christie values that are about treating everyone with respect; working as part of a multidisciplinary team that is integrated across clinical, research and education divisions; and being approachable. Everyone has to sign up to them.
- The Christie is seeking views on its 2020 vision. To take part, log onto christie.nhs.uk by 31 March.
How to get your whole team on board
- Listen to your staff and ensure they have the support to make changes
- Set out values of how you want your staff to treat each other and patients
- Don’t just tell people what you want them to do, live it yourself and create the culture you want to work in
- Remind your staff that caring for people is a privilege
- Encourage your team to make a difference to patients every day
Caroline Shaw is chief executive of The Christie in Manchester, a post she has held since 2005, and for which she has won several businessawards. She has over 25 years’ experience in the NHS, joining as a midwife, and has been working for the Department of Health to take chargeof the development of NHS provider services across the North West and advise on national NHS policy.