Development and evaluation of an immersive, experiential learning model for re-connecting health care staff to deeper value-based work motivations Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust

This project was funded between January 2019 and March 2020.

  • Run by Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, in partnership with Planetree International.
  • Aiming to improve patient outcomes by increasing staff engagement, retention and wellbeing at Birmingham’s Women’s and Children’s hospitals.
  • Will implement an adapted version of a US experiential learning model to reshape staff development to focus on deeper motivations for working and improve their sense of belonging.

Patient-centred learning retreats – where staff receive training through experiential activities, reflection and group sharing – are currently used by a number of international health care organisations to help improve staff compassion and retention, but are rare in the UK.

This project will develop, pilot and evaluate an experiential approach to learning that is bespoke to the NHS. The aim is to reimagine staff development to focus more on deeper value-based motivations rather than traditional learning methods in order to increase engagement and wellbeing, and improve patient outcomes.

An adapted version of a patient-centred learning retreat curriculum developed by Planetree International (a US-based, non-profit organisation specialising in education on patient-centred care) will be implemented to increase staff engagement following the integration of Birmingham’s Women’s and Children’s hospitals. It will explore two formats – a whole away day for 60 staff and modular toolkit for 160 staff – designed to reconnect all staff with the care provided by the organisation and improve their sense of belonging.

The structured curriculum will be supported by a wide range of resources, including video, image and written prompt material, patient stories and a facilitation guide, in order to create an attractive learning package that resonates deeply with managers and staff.

Targeted, mixed-method evaluation will be used to assess the impact on staff and patient outcomes. If the project successfully demonstrates the delivery of effective, positive experiential learning, this model could be integrated into continued professional development practices and applied elsewhere in the NHS.

Contact information

For more information about this project, please contact Dr Christopher Chiswell, Consultant in Public Health Medicine, Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust.

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