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Encourage staff to live by your values

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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 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.


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Readers' comments (1)

  • I don’t imagine you would believe the effects of poor management Ms Shaw but we see it regularly at CAUSE (Campaign Against Unnecessary Suspensions and Exclusions UK). People are suspended from work for unsubstantiated allegations or some misdemeanour that could have been quickly dealt with by a manager with common sense.
    These poorly functioning managers have no idea of the damage they do to people’s health and wellbeing and neither do they follow their policies. I doubt that they have even heard of the Incident Decision Tree of the National Patient Safety Agency.
    So your article was a very welcome breath of fresh air that stops me becoming cynical since after nearly 9 years now of our website, nothing seems to change.
    Very best wishes
    Julie Fagan founder member of CAUSE
    CAUSE (UK)
    Campaign Against Unnecessary Suspensions and Exclusions in the NHS (UK)
    Campaign Co-ordinators: Julie Fagan, Craig Longstaff, Andre Downer,
    Elsie Gayle (midwifery spokesperson), Dave Williams (Welsh spokesperson)
    and Kate Wynn (Scottish spokesperson)

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

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