February 2018: Focus on Compassion
Compassion is a concept which lies at the heart of all health and social care work. Service users and providers alike expect it; the NHS Constitution explicitly states it as a right, and the NHS Leadership Framework devotes considerable time to it. But what is it and how can we ensure it is alive and well in a cash-strapped, winter-pressured service?
Many of us at HSMC working with colleagues and partners have contributed to building the knowledge base as well as working with health and care organisations to apply this to practice. The concept of emotional labour is often invisible and a poorly understood element of staff care. A TEDx talk "Why do good people deliver poor care" describes it further. By understanding the needs of staff we can begin to apply this to practice. One such application is an award winning scheme which recognises compassion enacted in the workplace. It originated in Shropshire and Staffordshire and has spread to over 10 organisations with over 2000 nominations (and rising). Alistair Hewison describes this scheme in more detail. Another scheme with similar aims is the Daisy Award initiated in Northampton General Hospital, described by Carolyn Fox and Natalie Green. This initiative provides a forum for the patient to publicly acknowledge an individual for the way they cared for them.

Small acts of compassion can have a positive effect on organisations and Ruby Uhbi describes the role of leaders in enabling these to flourish by building and sustaining relationships with their staff, and paying attention to their needs. This leadership activity is beautifully portrayed in our final Viewpoint by Helen Sanderson who has developed a recruitment process which recognises how stressful this can be for applicants and seeks to treat them with compassion, in the clear knowledge that this paves the way for staff to be able to provide good compassionate care to their patients/clients.

All of these initiatives are aimed at staff with the clear understanding that this is the only way to ensure patients receive compassionate care. Staff are the only vehicle through which this happens, and HSMC are proud to be part of the growing community recognising and seeking ways to address this.
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HSMC on compassion: current projects
Yellow hats are not just for builders - 28 February
A follow-up on the Improvement Labs we ran in 2016 and 2017, this invite-only event provides a space for the 40 teams who left our previous workshops with a clear plan to implement a scheme to support staff with their emotional labour, to share their progress, reflect and re-energise. We would like to thank the West Midlands Patient Safety Collaborative for funding this event. For more information please contact Yvonne Sawbridge.
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Developing compassionate leaders: new programme
Developing compassionate leaders is crucial and HSMC is delighted to be relaunching its highly regarded programme for aspiring senior leaders in healthcare with a new cohort due to start in June 2018. If you are interested in applying, or have a member of staff that you believe would benefit from attending, please view our brochure for full details. We look forward to hearing from you.
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Boundary spanning in 21st century public service roles
Sharon Mastracci from the University of Utah was a Fulbright Scholar at HSMC in 2015. A well-known researcher on emotional labour, Sharon worked with Yvonne Sawbridge and Alistair Hewison. She also met with Catherine Mangan and Catherine Needham. Their work on the 21st Century Public Servant identified that as public service roles require boundary spanning to support citizens with cross-cutting issues, this can create new sorts of demands on the emotional labour of staff. For example, the UK Fire Service, faced with a decreased incidence of house fires now offer support to older people to make their houses safer. They must quickly establish a rapport with older people or with families in order to undertake a more subtle assessment task than the traditional fire service role. An article on the emotional labour of these boundary spanning roles, written by Needham, Mastracci and Mangan was published in the Journal of Integrated Care in 2017.
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Evaluation of Age UK’s Person-Centred Change Programme
Jo Ellins and Yvonne Sawbridge have been commissioned to evaluate Age UK’s Person-Centred Change Programme. The programme is being co-produced and tested out with seven local Age UKs, and aims to develop their leadership and workforce culture in order to deliver person-centred services and support to older people. At the heart of the programme is a recognition that building a culture of person-centredness starts with staff, and there is a strong focus on issues of staff engagement, wellbeing and voice. The mixed evaluation will explore experiences and early impacts of the programme, as well as the potential for it to be scaled up and rolled out across the wider Age UK network. Please contact Jo Ellins for more information.
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