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TEDx 2015: Why might good people deliver bad care?

Aston Webb Building
Saturday 21st March 2015 (10:00-16:30)
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After a successful event last year, TEDx returns to the University of Birmingham. With ideas worth spreading, some of Birmingham's leading academics will grace the TEDx stage in the Aston Webb building on Saturday 21 March.

This is an opportunity to hear ideas at the pioneering end of research, stories about success coming from choosing to pave your own way. Our speakers will question the idea of conforming and share ideas worth spreading. Preconceptions will be challenged and debate will be sparked.

HSMC's Yvonne Sawbridge will be taking part and will be posing the question 'Why might good people deliver bad care?'  She writes:

Kindness and compassion cost nothing according to the Chair of the Care Quality Commission (the health and social care regulator) (CQC, 2011). Many people subscribe to this view and decry individual nurses who do not treat their vulnerable patients with kindness or compassion. Of course this is shocking and there have been far too many stories of poor care, the most powerful collection in the Francis report (2010 volume 2) on Stafford Hospital. As a society we want to rely on nurses to care for us when we are in need. However, our formulaic response to failings since the 1960s (Walshe and Higgins, 2002) is to commission inquiries, publish reports and issue recommendations. This is clearly not the answer, or incidents of systemic poor care would not recur.

Our work has taken a different perspective and exposes the uncomfortable truth that caring is hard, emotional work. In the same way in which physical labour is recognised and accounted for in management practice (for example, hoists are available to lift patients to protect nurses' backs), emotional labour needs to be recognised as a role requirement for nurses and other caring professions. All of us have an emotional bank account that is constantly depleted by the things we see and do, and people working in caring professions need support to top this account back up.  This means it is the responsibility of the organisation to recruit, develop and support individuals in their emotional labour -  not doing so simply sets people up to fail and also harms patients.  Sadly, there is little evidence that emotional labour is properly understood or valued in the NHS - and the typical response is simply to ramp up inspection regimes and talk tough.

Our desire is to share our learning and to help develop compassionate organisations who understand that caring for staff is the only way to ensure patients are cared for compassionately. By raising the profile of emotional labour we aim to reduce its invisibility and help organisations recognise, support and reward emotional labourers rather than colluding with the popular myth that compassion costs nothing.  My TEDx talk will address this at a time when there are widespread media debates about compassionate care, the future of nursing and why care scandals recur over time.

How to register

Tickets are on sale at £20 (£14 for students) via the e-shop and will include a full day's access to the TEDx University of Birmingham event, with lunch included in the price. Join us in taking another step on the road less travelled.

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