Two KGH culture change initiatives up for top patient safety award

Compassionism staff collage and Yokoten HSJ Award


Kettering General Hospital has had two of its internal initiatives shortlisted for a national award for the way it works to make patient safety, and kindness and respect between staff, a top priority.

The hospital is in the finals of the HSJ Patient Safety Awards 2022 in the changing culture category for a shared learning initiative called Yokoten and one to promote kindness, goodwill and civility, called Compassionism.

Both were led by the hospital’s Interim Medical Director, Rabia Imtiaz, and Medical Directorate Project Manager, Claire Knibb.

Rabia said: “With Compassionism the aim was to promote kindness, understanding and respect between staff within all of our day to day interactions, particularly during busy times when we might not be sharing the best version of ourselves.

“It really is as simple as one human being treating another human being with kindness, civility and respect and when that doesn’t happen having the courage to challenge other people’s behaviour.

“We summed up the approach as: “Start every interaction with a smile, finish with a thank you, and then reflect and consider ‘was that the best of me’.”

The initiative was jointly formed and led by staff and colleagues from all areas including doctors, nurses, porters, volunteers, and support staff.

Learning through sharing

The hospital’s Yokoten initiative originates from the Japanese concept for ‘learning through sharing’.

It involved regular virtual teams meetings to share bitesize learning between colleagues from all across the hospital , in addition inviting colleagues from other parts of the country – and internationally, with presenters from as-far-afield as Seattle, USA.

Examples included:

  • Sharing tips and lessons learned from relocating wards during the pandemic – helping others to make ward moves smoother and better for both patients and staff
  • Educating staff on appropriate language to use when supporting patients with Down’s syndrome
  • Introducing an initiative – which has now spread across the hospital – of ‘grab and go falls kits’ in a bright yellow bag. The bag has, all in one place, key items staff need to support patients at risk of a fall.

Rabia said: “The philosophy and objective behind Yokoten, is to share learning and experience.

“What we did was hold regular online teams meetings where staff could present and share their good ideas – including teams from other Trusts so ideas could spread across the NHS.

“For staff not used to making presentations we supported them with coaching and advice so they felt able to get their ideas across.

“We had very good feedback. Staff of all backgrounds joined in and we had some great Q&A and learning emerging and some good ideas from all points of the compass.”

Claire said: “Staff from across the hospital have shared their passion, projects, and ideas for improving patient experience and safety, with the hope that by sharing these experiences others can be inspired, or adopt similar improvements.

“Attendance and appetite for our Yokoten sessions continues to grow, as we welcome colleagues to join us not only from every corner of our own hospital, but from neighbouring primary care settings, other NHS hospitals, and healthcare providers. “

Some Yokoten meeting comments included:

Nurse – “I feel elated, I’m on top of the world! We have already received emails from other wards asking us to share our processes.”

Manager – “Excellent opportunity to see how patient safety is approached in other areas of the country, thank you for putting us in touch with your presenter today,”

Trainee midwife - ‘This was my first experience in presenting, I had never spoken in public before, let alone created slides. The Yokoten team were so kind and helped me in so many ways.”

Meetings were recorded and saved online so staff unable to attend at the time could go back and watch them.

The HSJ Patient Safety Award finals are being held on September 15th in Manchester this year, which attract hundreds of entries from across the NHS to complete in 24 award categories.

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