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Helping Healthcare Professionals Develop Resilience

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A study day designed to enable healthcare professionals at all levels to develop resilience in order to build a sustainable workforce was held in Wales last month.

Taking place at Cardiff University, the educational event provided vital coping skills for those working within the perioperative environment, in a bid to enhance recruitment and retain the existing workforce.

Open to perioperative professionals from across the nation, the event attracted a variety of delegates including healthcare assistants- levels 2 and 3, theatre support workers, nurse associates, assistant theatre practitioners, operating department practitioners, theatre managers, educationalists and registered nurses.

Delegates explored health education and innovation in Wales (HEIW) as part of Social Care Wales’ collaborative workforce strategy for health and social care, as well as being introduced to a specialist programme that will identify alternative methods of delivering continuous professional development in clinical practice.

Several industry specialists were lined up to speak at the event including;

  • Professor Billie Hunter RCM, Professor of Midwifery and Director WHO Collaborating Centre for Midwifery Development School of Healthcare Sciences- Billie explored what is known about resilience, defining what it is and what contributes to its development. He described how reactive and proactive resilient strategies can be used to cope with the challenges of working in the NHS.
  • Judith Benbow, Senior Lecturer, School of Healthcare Sciences Cardiff University- Judith described the social and environmental perspective of resilience and outlined the environmental influences that shape nurses’ resilience, drawing upon findings from a mixed methods research study, consisting of a purposely designed questionnaire and free-text responses.
  • Clem Price, Head of Workforce Strategy & Planning, Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) – Clem’s session focused on how strategy will support and enable both health and social care to build a sustainable workforce over the forthcoming decade, linking the emergent actions to the current challenges that perioperative professionals face.
  • Fiona Creed, Nurse Educator & Academic Programme Lead at Oxford University Hospital and Valerie McAvoy, Programme Lead for Advanced Perioperative Care- the duo illustrated how the landscape for continuing professional development has altered significantly over the past three years. They looked at how certain elements have necessitated the review of CPD delivery at Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) NHS foundation trust in order to deliver sustainable education programmes.
  • Professor Aled Jones, Professor of Patient Safety and Healthcare Quality, School of Healthcare Sciences, Cardiff University- Aled’s session outlined how organisational failures and catastrophes are avoidable when staff are appropriately listened to, whilst considering why NHS staff consider speaking up to be a “high risk, low benefit activity” and how this might be reversed.

Representatives from the UK’s leading membership organisation for operating theatre practitioners, the Association for Perioperative Practice were also on hand to offer support and advice to attendees.

For over 50 years, the Harrogate charity has worked to enhance skills and knowledge within operating departments, sterile services departments and associated areas.

Its mission is to improve standards of care and patient safety within the perioperative arena by determining correct standards, promoting best practice and facilitating education.

The event was organised in response to the current issues that perioperative professionals are facing and hope to make a difference both in the short and long-term.

CEO of the association Dawn Stott said:

“We’re aware of the current challenges that healthcare professionals are facing and as an organisation who is committed to caring for those who care for others, we wanted to do something to help.

Building a Sustainable Workforce’ took place at Cardiff University on 30 November