Staff support 26 March 2024

Creating a Culture of Support

To provide the best care for our patients we need to provide the best care for our staff. At the Princess Royal University Hospital, the Chartwell Unit is a shining example of how to achieve this.

Staff in the Chartwell Unit at the PRUH (Princess Royal University Hospital) diagnose and care for a wide range of cancer patients, supporting them and their families through every aspect of their treatment journey. 

Daily, this incredible team works tirelessly to provide the very best care for their patients. But it can be a difficult environment both emotionally and mentally, with staff facing complex and challenging situations with every shift. Dealing with these emotions can be difficult to navigate, especially without someone to talk to.  

As a team we can handle these situations well, however it is often the “come down” from these experiences that can be difficult to digest.
Sister, Chartwell Unit

Compassion lies at the heart of King’s care, extending to our patients and staff. So, the Chartwell Unit developed an initiative to provide its team with the support they needed.  

With the help of Charity funding, senior staff members on the ward introduced monthly clinical supervision sessions for all staff members. They were designed as a safe space for staff to process their emotions, supporting their wellbeing and ultimately equipping them to provide better patient care.  

As a staff nurse working in cancer, I can express my worries and anxieties freely without judgement. Caring for our patients can be the greatest privilege and supervision helps us do the very best for them.
Staff Nurse, Chartwell Unit

Finding time for busy staff to attend can be challenging, especially when someone always needs to be on duty during all hours of the day. But from the get-go, the senior team ensured that every staff member had an equal chance to attend, helping to prioritise sessions alongside various work duties.  

Their efforts paid off, as clinical sessions were well attended throughout the two-year period, with staff regularly looking forward to them every month.  

Senior staff members ensured that the wards and clinics received sufficient additional staff support during the sessions, alleviating concerns about workload and removing any barriers to attending.

Each month staff look forward to these sessions and are eager to attend with some team members wanting to come in purely for the sessions. Our supervisor is attentive, warm and patient, she creates an atmosphere in which we all feel comfortable and accepted irrespective of our role, position or status.
Sister, Chartwell Unit

Making an impact 

The results speak for themselves. After two years of the programme, the Chartwell Unit saw improved staff retention, wellbeing and morale. There was even an increase in the number of staff being promoted to internal positions within the team, a strong indicator that staff were motivated and thriving in their roles.  

But beyond the numbers, there was a profound culture shift too. The group sessions brought about a strong sense of cohesion, belonging and support within the team. Staff now leave work each day reflecting on their shift and checking in with each other. Thanks to clinical supervision, the deep connection and support that staff have for one another has become part of their daily routines.  

Shining bright 

In September 2023 the Chartwell Unit won an award for teamwork and compassion in the King’s Stars 2023 Quarterly Awards. It was an exceptionally proud moment, highlighting the incredible support they show to their patients and each other. One nominator said:  

“They come together as one team to provide support to each other and are always willing to assist and cross cover the areas no matter where their base is. “Team Chartwell”, your hard work and commitment have not gone unnoticed, you truly exemplify what it is to be a ‘kind, respectful team.” 

Talking as a team openly about how we are feeling and how some patients’ stories affect us is extremely beneficial as we are all in this together. It brings us together as a team... I personally look forward to our monthly sessions as I feel this is a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.
Team Lead, Chartwell Unit
Clinical supervision has meant that we are able to care for the mental health of our own staff and provide a greater insight into the importance of sharing our experiences.
Sister, Chartwell Unit

Clinical supervision sessions are just one example of how King’s College Hospital Charity is helping King’s look after its incredible staff, so they can continue to provide the best care for their patients. 

Find out more about the work you make possible for King's staff. 

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