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  • Run by Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, in partnership with Planetree International.
  • Aimed to improve patient outcomes by increasing staff engagement, retention and wellbeing at Birmingham’s Women’s and Children’s hospitals.
  • Researched and organised two full-day experiential learning retreats for community midwifery and mental health teams focused on exploring compassion, values and deeper motivations for working.
  • Delivered between January 2019 and March 2020.

Many international health care organisations use experiential learning retreats, which include immersive activities, reflection and group sharing, to improve staff compassion, satisfaction and retention.

The RECOMPOSE (Rediscovering Compassion and Motivation through Participatory Staff Experiences) project led by Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust set out to explore how experiential retreats could be transferred into an NHS setting.

The aim was 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.

A key challenge was identifying which the aspects of the broad landscape of person-centred care were most suited to enhancing health care in the UK setting. The team used interviews, literature, conferences and virtual meetings to gather a wide range of evidence from settings already undertaking person-centred care retreats.

This knowledge was applied to co-design (with Planetree International, a US-based, non-profit organisation specialising in education on patient-centred care) two full-day retreats for community midwifery and mental health teams from across the Trust.

Staff responded positively to the retreats, where they had the opportunity to explore measures for monitoring compassion and have complex developmental conversations on their values and motivations in a safe and enjoyable context.

Unfortunately, the impact of COVID-19 prevented the planned post-intervention evaluation from being completed. However, learning was consolidated into a repeatable curriculum, which has been made available for local teams to use as part of their ongoing staff development.

Moving forward, RECOMPOSE will be sustainably transitioned into the Trust’s induction programme, providing a values-based component to the onboarding experience of new team members.

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.

About this programme

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