#Expo15NHS #MatExp & #HealthyStaff4HealthyPatients: Sharing passion for #NHS staff well being at @NHSExpo

As I come to the end of my 1st year as a doctoral researcher, I have also become very busy in preparation for my yearly performance review. I am definitely keen to share all of the exciting work I have been doing, and I hope the performance review panel will share my enthusiasm for this research journey. It has certainly kept me busy, hence the lapse in blog posts!

This week I had an inspiring experience at the #Expo15NHS conference with colleagues from @NHSEngland@NHSEnglandPX , @MKHospital@CovUni_CTEHR and @SheffieldHosp. The agenda was jam packed with the showcasing of innovative ideas, new models of care and collective movements for positive change. I was definitely among my ‘Tribe’.

As I moved from presentation to presentation, chuckling at the amusing quips from @RoyLilley I quickly saw the widespread passion for creating a healthy future within the NHS. The exhibitors were also really inspiring, and it was amazing to see new technologies emerging within health and social care. Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt MP challenged the NHS to ensure all patient were able to access their full medical records online by 2016, accompanied by a commitment to a review of data security. I know that there are many change agents ready for this challenge (myself included). I am indeed excited for the future.

Day one of #Expo15NHS saw NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens announce major new work to support NHS staff to improve their own health and wellbeing, with specialist packages for GPs suffering signs of burnout. This of course was music to my ears. I am now even more certain that the research I am doing to support healthcare professionals (starting with midwives) in psychological distress is relevant, powerful and firmly on the national agenda.

This theme of NHS staff well being dominated NHS Expo. As such, I was keen to follow this with the honor of presenting a scoping view of the literature in relation to #NHS staff health and well being, and exploring the impact that staff health may have upon work performance and staff engagement. Delegates, commissioners, clinicians, academics and policy makers came to this seminar in search of supporting healthy staff for healthy NHS organisations. It was encouraging to see that this seminar had been over subscribed to in advance of NHS Expo. Indeed, some people were turned away from the session!

NHS Expo

Myself and Rhian Bishop (Staff Engagement Lead at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust) presented workshop 20 of the pop-up university sessions at @NHSExpo : Improving staff experience to improve performance….

The session focused on the impact staff engagement and experience has upon organisational performance, specifically patient experience. The session was aimed at commissioners and policy makers, and outlined why staff experience is so important. It also offered examples from an organisation has has improved staff experience to great effect.

This session was very well received. I saw smiling faces, engaged thinking and delegates taking notes. So I wanted to take this opportunity to thank those who shared our passion for the health and well being of #NHS staff at NHS expo. The future definitely looks brighter in this respect now that we have you on board.


#MatExp @ #Expo15NHS

Aside from my own session, I also wanted to raise the profile of an amazing midwifery movement known as #MatExp. #MatExp is a powerful grassroots campaign using the Whose Shoes?® approach to identify and share best practice across the nation’s maternity services. I had the privilege of becoming a part of their seminar at NHS Expo. Their enthusiasm is contagious! They engaged all of us to reflect upon the importance of kindness, empathy, and compassion in midwifery care. As I reflected upon my own practice and personal experiences, I also reflected upon the need to show ourselves compassion, look after colleagues and create #healthystaff4healthypatients. I am definitely proud to be part of #MatExp ..they are raising the profile of the midwifery profession and flying the flag for better maternity services. I hope the #MatExp crew can become a part of this research journey and share their rich wealth of knowledge and experiences.

But for now…In the words of Bill and Ted “Be excellent to each other”….


Preparing for #Expo15NHS: Improving #StaffExperience to improve #NHS performance @NHSExpo


So… I have been developing my seminar presentation for this years NHS Expo 2015. I am so excited to be a part of this day and to present a seminar on an area I feel so passionate about. Please let me know if you will be there, I would love to network with others interested in healthier staff for healthier patients!


If you are booking your sessions for the day remember to book in for the pop up university session:

Workshop 20

Improving staff experience to improve performance

This session will be run in conjunction with colleagues from Coventry University and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and will focus on the impact staff engagement and experience has on organisational performance, specifically patient experience. The session is aimed at commissioners and policy makers, and will outline why staff experience is so important, as well as offer examples from an organisation has has improved staff experience to great effect.

Sally Pezaro (Centre for Technology Enabled Health Research (CTEHR), University of Coventry) and Rhian Bishop (Staff Engagement Lead at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust).

Hope to see you there!

Quick note: I have also begun to recruit for my up and coming Delphi Study. Thank you so much to those who have already expressed their interest in joining the expert panel, and to those who have shared this recruitment information via social media (please keep sharing and remember to email me and express your own interest in joining!)

So in preparing for  I have begun to look at more and more research in relation to staff experience, staff engagement and how this relates to improved outcomes and quality care. I am looking into all areas of the NHS, however I personally have a particular interest in maternity services. This blog post focuses upon one element of the midwifery staff experience, it is not a sneak peak of my NHS Expo seminar….there are no spoilers 😛

When I came across the following piece of research, I found myself reflecting deeply upon our NHS culture and the #StaffExperience in maternity services:

Prowse, J., & Prowse, P. (2015). Flexible working and work–life balance: midwives’ experiences and views. Work, Employment & Society, 0950017015570724.

This study uses a multi-method approach to explore midwives’ views and experiences of work within a large NHS maternity unit. The benefits of introducing flexible working and initiatives to encourage a healthy work life balance are clear. Should these interventions be successful, we may see the maternity workforce thrive and grow, rather than retire and burnout. It is also clear however, that supporting these interventions may require additional workloads to be placed upon supporting staff as they ‘pick up the slack’

What concerned me most about these findings in the experiences of midwives, was that where initiatives were introduced to promote flexible working and healthy work life balance, midwives became resentful of each other.

This cannot be psychologically healthy, and yet maternity services must find the right solution to support the staff experience. I think that the real tensions may actually stem from the expectation that to be a professional, midwives have to be committed to the profession and put the needs of the woman and maternity service first, before their own……

“Having a healthy work life balance may still be seen as being incompatible with being a professional midwife……”

This conclusion evokes a great sadness for me.

This study concluded that “Unless these tensions are addressed, divisions between midwives and within the profession will intensify.”

This cannot be conducive to patient safety, care quality or healthy staff experiences for a psychologically safe professional journey.

-Midwives need to be able to value their own well being in order to provide high quality patient care.

-NHS organisations need to reinforce the value of having healthy staff in order to be able to deliver high quality care.

-The midwifery profession may need a new narrative that accepts that midwives deserve to put themselves first some times, and that this does not make them any less of a professional midwife in doing so.

As the quality of patient care is intrinsically linked to staff well being, it would be unethical not to value the midwives’ right to a healthy work life balance. This right should be free of negative judgement and resentment, so that a healthy and caring culture of maternity services can thrive as we face the challenging times ahead.

Lets be kind to ourselves and each other…

Or rather – 1.1 treat people with kindness, respect and compassion

I would be keen to hear your views on this subject, what are your experiences in practice?