Helping us all to deliver better care
At #TeamKGH, we recognise the link between staff having a good experience at work, and patients having a positive, safe experience within our hospitals. We’ve introduced a range of initiatives linked to compassion, civility and respect to give us the skills to recognise and address challenging behaviour – both in others and within ourselves.
Our colleagues are our most valuable resource. We know that when people are valued and respected within the workplace, they feel happier and more committed to their work. In turn, this means they perform more effectively. In other words, better staff satisfaction means better patient care – and that is what we all come into work to do, whether we are delivering patient care directly or supporting others in doing so.
When people do not experience kindness, civility and respect, research shows that it has a negative impact on their performance. When this happens, we are more likely to make mistakes which could lead to serious consequences, such as an error in a patient’s medication or treatment. This is why reducing stress and nurturing happiness in the workplace is a fundamental part of excellent patient care.
Start with compassion… end with respect
While there are many examples of staff and patients enjoying a great experience, there are occasional stories where this isn’t the case. That’s where “Start with compassion… end with respect” comes in: We want to make sure that every interaction we have with others is a positive one – not just most of the time, but all of the time. All patients should expect the best possible care when using our hospitals, so this means that hospital colleagues also need to have the best possible experience at work.
The new initiatives remind us that we all have a choice about how we react to someone who is being unkind, uncivil or disrespectful towards us. The same applies if we see someone behaving like this towards others, and breaking the chain is really important. Research shows that tackling someone else’s unkindness or incivility in an unhelpful way, for example by arguing back, not only makes you feel a lot worse, but can actually make things worse for a lot of other people too, including patients and other hospital visitors.
We work in a stressful environment where critical decisions and actions are often needed at short notice, and the pandemic has only added to the pressure. If we’re having a difficult day, we might say something that upsets someone even if we didn’t mean to. Regardless of intent, these moments can have a negative impact on our performance as a team, and on the quality of the care we deliver.
#KGHCompassionism gives staff the skills and knowledge to respond positively to poor behaviours in a respectful and non-critical way. It is not designed to demand changes but in the vast majority of cases (more than 95%) people decide to change once they become aware of the impact they can have on others.
Our #KGHCompassionism initiatives feature four specific programmes designed to create a happy workforce that operates as a team delivering holistic patient-centred care.
1. We started with our Respect Empowers campaign in January 2020, highlighting the direct impact behaviour can have on clinical decision making.
2. We followed this up with a Civility Saves Lives seminar in July 2020 to show the importance of respect at work and to give everyone the skills and confidence to act when they encounter potentially unkind and disrespectful behaviour.
3. We are promoting civility and respect through self-awareness and self-reflection. We are asking staff to take moments of self-reflection after every action, asking themselves: Did that person see the best of me and what can I do to improve? #BestofMe
4. Calling it out with Compassion is based on research by academics and experts like Civility Saves Lives.
This initiative alerts people when they are displaying behaviours that may cause distress to others. It is designed to give people the skills to address – without judgement – any behaviour that can have a negative impact on others.
This includes delivering a number of sessions to raise awareness as well as the appointment of Peer Messengers – approachable, compassionate and friendly members of the team chosen by their colleagues who are able to discuss poor behaviour without judging.
Our case studies tell the stories of two colleagues who felt supported and appreciated in two very different ways when situations were addressed with compassion, civility and respect.