Lynne Watson, an experienced District Nurse, chose to take on the role of Listening into Action (LiA) Lead at Hounslow and Richmond Community Healthcare NHS Trust, working with clinical influencers and the Chief Executive to get a fundamental shift in ways of working across the organisation. She is passionate about working the LiA way and convinced this is exactly what her fellow clinicians need. Here is what she has to say about it:
"Having worked as a nurse for the past 37 years, I am passionate about the ‘clinical voice’ being heard through all strands of any NHS organisation. Clinicians often hold the answer to many of the complexities which beleaguer Trusts in being able to provide the highest level of care whilst at the same time balancing the books.
Listening into Action (LiA) provides the vehicle for clinicians to make a difference for patients and clients. At the same time it provides a framework for 'unblocking the way' and enabling our people to get on with their jobs on a day-to-day basis.
In past years, so much of what clinicians achieved was through ‘goodwill’. However, in the changing world of the NHS this can often seem to be in short supply. All too often care, systems and processes get ‘stuck’ because of hindrances and blockages, but there is now a clear and consistent alternative to a 'goodwill way of working' by following the LiA '7 Steps to a New Way of Working'.
At a recent meeting with a group of highly skilled nurses, it became clear that they felt devalued and disrespected due to a potential service redesign emanating from their commissioners. They felt that they were being ‘done to’ rather than being involved in the changes that were being demanded. The result was a demoralised team feeling that they had no control or power over decisions being made. This was impacting on other teams too, creating further divisions.
Sitting in the midst of their team meeting (where I had been invited to give an update on LiA), it suddenly became so clear that the answer lay in the 7 Steps. By holding their own LiA Team Conversation the team would be enabled to make the changes creatively and appropriately - in the way they know will work best and feel ownership of. By posing the two key questions, the hindrances and blocks would be identified, solutions would become clear, and changes would be made in the work that followed.
Change is often unsettling and is perhaps inevitable, but what is certain is that an engaged, happy and motivated workforce is the best asset for an organisation. More importantly, ambitious and aspirational staff create a 'snowball effect', gathering size and momentum through the joining up of like-minded individuals willing to push the boundaries to improve outcomes for patients and clients. The more this happens the greater the ripple effect will be, impacting on partner organisations and further afield, showing the difference that this approach can make.
Of course at the centre of all this is the patient/client. Which one of us would not want to be treated by a valued, respected, happy and motivated clinician who works in an organisation where the ethos of ‘Hello my name is...’ is embedded in every organisational strand.
We started our LiA journey in September - so we are not there yet, but we are well on our way. Already we are seeing:
- Clinical teams pioneering adoption of the LiA way of working over an initial 20 weeks to impact patient/client care - their stories and results will be shared at our 'Pass It On' event in June and 'fuel' the spread to more teams
- 'Enabling our People' schemes engaging contingents of staff to come up with solutions to blockages and obstacles in the organisation - also sharing their stories at 'Pass It On' in June
- Practical and simple 'quick wins' such as advertising of internal vacancies, new walkie-talkies, relocated water cooler, small occupational therapy items stocked in hospital pharmacy, equipment cupboard at hospital gym, probation period for new starters and many more - all informed by our staff
- A massive improvement in communication with staff, including tangible changes like drop-in IT surgeries, staff involvement in designing the new intranet, CEO and director visits to frontline teams, and new newsletters/Teamtalk - all which have received lots of positive feedback.
This has already impacted our performance in relation to the National Staff Survey which places HRCH in the top 10% for staff recommending the Trust as a place to work. We have also seen more positive responses to the Friends and Family Test, with staff rating this as a good place to work and a good place to get treated.
Our Trust-wide LiA Sponsor Group is made of clinical influencers and our Chief Executive. Here is a film we made to introduce ourselves and explain why we are committed to LiA...". Lynne Watson, LiA Lead can be contacted via Lynne.Watson@HRCH.NHS.UK