I have been reflecting on my workplace experiences over the last few months and how I think I am responding to our pressured and uncertain world and how that relates to my relationships with colleagues and what I observe in those beside me.
From time to time I have noticed that my response to feedback will be defensive, and I suspect that others respond in a similar way. Whilst understandable it has consequences in my clinical practice, how the care is delivered by the team and how that is received by the patient.
At first there may be blame and criticism leading to datix report and complaints. This leads to conflict, defensiveness and eventually to individual disengagement. I know this because I have experienced this and have disengaged from time to time; it is my way of coping, and I am conscious that others might be doing that too. I personally start to lose the sense of joy and the importance of the work that we do, the difference we make in such an important moment in a patient’s life.
We need to embrace a compassionate and grown up approach to sustain a high performing team.
It’s important to create psychological safety and trust; to ask ourselves what would it be like if we could share difference and see it as enrichment of our clinical practice, counterviews are appreciated for what they are as different; and if there is concern about the safety and quality of that approach it is highlighted generously with the motivation to help and educate.
From our own and colleagues’ experiences, it can be quite disheartening to face any kind of criticism from peers or managers. There is some kind of fear that one is being blamed for mistakes, which tends to happen more often in a high risk, pressured situation when our calmness and generosity is more in need.
We are lucky to have a No Blame Policy at UHP but still why do we always feel guilty when we have taken action in the best interests of a patient at the time, then later, it is proven not to have been the right thing to do? Perhaps we need to adopt alternative ways to approach these incidents.
Use them as a case study at meetings or handovers to avoid similar issues again…
Human to human communication may reflect a much better outcome and resolve any misunderstandings amongst colleagues. No-one should be made to feel that they are being punished for having genuinely tried to act in the best interests of their patient, but there may be some learning that comes from this.
I recently read this concept somewhere and perhaps if we can all use similar thoughts, we can have a better understanding and be supportive, caring and compassionate towards each other.
This is not any different to us wanting to treat our patients the way we would like to be treated, only this time we are thinking about looking after us, after each other.
By this we will clap for ourselves as we will be heroes for each other.
Each time you have to challenge someone please remember the following:
1)This person has beliefs, perspectives, and opinions, just like me.
2)This person has hopes, anxieties, and vulnerabilities, just like me.
3)This person has friends, family, and perhaps children who love them, just like me.
4)This person wants to feel respected, appreciated, and competent, just like me.
5)This person wishes for peace, joy, and happiness, just like me.
We are living in a very unprecedented and challenging world. Let’s care, be kind and be fair.
We are the best team but we can now move towards perfection by “being the change we want to see in the Team”.
Written by Shadna Lallchand, ENP, Derriford ED December 2020
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