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Coaching for Culture with The Walton Centre
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The team

A team of ward nurses from Merseyside took part in the 2018-19 cohort of the Innovation Agency's coaching for culture programme. The team, led by ward manager Sharon Mcloughlin, were all from the Dott Ward at The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust, a specialist trust in north Liverpool dedicated to providing comprehensive neurology, neurosurgery, spinal and pain management services.

What we did

Sharon Mcloughlin, Ward Manager, Dott Ward:

"The Innovation Agency gave us the dialogue to engage with staff and address concerns objectively, without staff taking anything personally. I was able to say this is an outside organisation, and with them we’re going to look at how our team could improve.

“It’s been about empowering staff, and staff realising that change has to come from all of us. I’ve gained skills to help staff feel more empowered and get on board, and see it as their responsibility to improve things too.

“Hopefully as a result we’ve improved safety for patients as well. I’m more confident now that I know everybody on the team knows which patients need turning, which patients are at risk of a fall, which patients are suffering from an infection – and if staff don’t know, they need to take some accountability for that now.”

Kate Wallworth, Sister, Dott Ward:

"After the Coaching Academy we've now got a structure in place – we’re organised, very organised. We introduced our Safety Huddle where all staff come in and listen while we run through all the main points on the ward. That’s before every shift. Going forward everyone is aware of what’s happening on the ward that day. If a visitor comes onto the ward, any member of staff would be able to answer their questions. We all know which patients are suffering from an infection, which patients are going into theatre. It just helps the running of the ward. It’s a more pleasant ward to work on.”

Lisa Clark, Sister, Dott Ward:

"We had to try and figure out a way to measure if teamwork was improving or not. We introduced a simple box where staff can post a smiley face or an unhappy face, or a comment card – it was just trying to make it as easy as possible. At the beginning we’d see a lot of sad faces going into the box and not many suggestions.

“Now it takes me longer to type up because there’s so many suggestions. People mention staff who’ve really put themselves out to help out, just to say thank you. You can see a lot more positive feedback, and everyone who sees their name on the board gets a positive feeling.

“I don’t think people realise how powerful and uplifting it is to hear how to be positive – that there is a way to think positively, and there are solutions to problems. That’s something we’ve tried here with the team – if things aren’t going in the right direction, why don’t you think of an idea? How could you fix it yourself?”

The Coaching Academy

The Innovation Agency’s Coaching Academy is a programme that enables health and care professionals to improve culture, quality and safety of health and care through structured, focused interactions.

Coaching for a safe and continuously improving workplace culture is a one-year programme for clinical teams focused on developing safe, high-quality and compassionate services. The programme includes accredited coaching training for team leaders; a collaborative action learning programme with other teams, creating a community of practice; an accredited team culture diagnostic to identify key areas of focus; and quality improvement and innovation practical knowledge and skills.

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