It started on the 6th February 2015, when I was speaking at a Nurses Summit held be Health Education England. I was there to talk about how empathy underpins the 6C’s of nursing and compassionate communication, feeding into patient safety and improvement of the emotional experience. I had not, at that time, formally started my training and development business, but had been public speaking about empathy, since 2006 following the death of my daughter in a hospital and my experience of the presence and lack of empathy both individually and from leadership teams involved.
A few weeks later, I had an email from a member of the audience from the Nurse Summit, who worked at Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (NHFT) asking me to speak at their conference later that year. This I did and had the pleasure of meeting the Chief Executive Angela Hilary and my journey with NHFT started.
As it happened and unrelated, the very first independent training day that I ran, as I started to test out the effectiveness of my approach in training empathy and emotional development, was attended by 3 members of NHFT patient experience and complaints staff.
From there, I was invited to do a morning session with the senior executive team. My training is based on openness and honesty and so I will be so here…I was terrified. This was my first board training session and I spent the whole week prior, telling my brain that the anxiety that I was feeling was in fact excitement, not fear!! I am pleased to say they were lovely, and it went well (and I learnt as much from that experience as the team I worked with.)
The Trust was then the first Trust to invest in my training – A Journey Through Leadership Using Empathy – as part of their Leadership Matters programme and this year I have run sessions for staff, who have not only all proved to be engaged, motivated, authentic and honest, but a complete pleasure to work with. My approach to training is emotive and thought-provoking and the evaluation I have received has been outstanding and I have felt very privileged working with NHFT staff. On top of this, I have been involved in NHFT’s own Carers Awareness in house training programme, again, witnessing engagement and compassion from staff that are focused on developing their skills and the experience of patients.
Seeing on the CEO’s twitter feed their new ‘outstanding’ rating from their recent CQC report. And it was with happiness, reflection of my own NHFT journey, and pride, that I hear on BBC local news this morning, of the Trusts rating. So this blog is for them. To celebrate their well deserved accomplishment.
In the CQC report, it states that:
- The senior leadership team had been instrumental in delivering quality improvement and there was a true sense of involvement from staff, patients and carers towards driving service improvement across all areas.
- Staff were particularly praising of the chief executive and the chair of the trust.
- There was a true sense of desire to drive service improvement for the benefit of patients, carers, and the wider system, evident throughout the inspection.
- The trust’s mission statement “making a difference for you, with you” was coproduced with staff, patients and stakeholders. Patients, families and carers were encouraged to provide feedback on the care they had received by a number of routes, for example via the ‘I want great care’ initiative.
- The trust was regarded by Northamptonshire Carers and the Carer’s Strategic Partnership as a carer friendly organisation and one that was committed to championing the important role that carers play in an effective care relationship.
- Consistently, staff attitudes were helpful, understanding and staff used kind and supportive language that patients would understand. The style and nature of communication was kind, respectful and compassionate…..The trust promoted a person-centred culture and staff involved patients and those close to them as partners in their care and treatment. Staff provided positive emotional support to patients.
WELL DONE NHFT. With mental health services under so much pressure…an amazing accomplishment to celebrate. Very proud and thankful to have been a small part of your impressive journey and to have you as part of mine.