Twitter fail whale

24 11 2009

At a recent open discussion between the Trust and invited employees, we engaged in a discussion group where we were asked how we would express our support of the values the Trust wanted us to espouse.

Unfortunately I think this epitomises the failure of Clinical Leadership.

There is leadership, there is engagement, there is opinion seeking, there is discussion, there are shared values and there is a great big Twitter fail whale.

The engagement is almost totally one sided. The discussion revolves around decisions already made. The values are decided by one group and “shared” with the other group as de facto.

This is NOT clinical leadership. It disappoints me that others should think it so.

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7 responses

24 11 2009
Wilberforce

What steps had been taken ahead of the meeting to determine the Trust values and to make them known to the participants?
If this was merely an information meeting are procedures in place for feedback either by individuals or groups?

What did you expect and what would you have done differently?

24 11 2009
inseiffolliet

No-one is aware of the nature of generation of what “our” values are; we were all simply told what they were at the start of the meeting.

We were advised that this “conversation” was about feeding back. There was no-one recording our feedback. Less than 10% of the Trust were involved.

What did I expect? Sadly, I expected a conversation to be open, wide ranging and two sided with a stated undertaking to accept each others views and more forward. I would expect shared values to be precisely that. Telling people what they believe really does put the whole issue sharply into perspective.

What I would have done differently is to start to consider the extent of the disconnection between staff and management, investigate the causes and seek to change that. (or write a thesis about it?)

4 12 2009
Linda McLean

“We engaged in a discussion group” you wrote in your first entry.
You were asked how you would express your support of the Trust Values.
Doesn’t sound exciting – more like a political exercise.
It is ony when coaxed by Wilberforce that you really say what bothered you.
In number 2 you are much clearer about your expectations.
Have you thought of taking them along to the next meeting?
How many people felt the same? Get them on side, and present your argument.
Insist that it is minuted -or an open letter sent.
People only act on the information received.
Or you could form an “Improve Patient Care Community” and invite the Trust along.
You have the power.
Pick it up.
Use it.

8 12 2009
inseiffolliet

Thank you for your positivity; this is something I am sadly lacking in the current climate. Unfortunately the event I suspect purely was a political exercise, like many of the other forms of “engagement”. There are no further meetings planned and the information received, as with many of the surveys conducted, is so diluted as to be worse than useless. Sadly, the power you speak of does not reside with the operating core unless it works in concert and currently their disillusion is all that unites them. The NHS does not work as a democracy nor are lone voices effective in change. My view of clinical leadership is that this is the means towards change rather than enforcement of company policy. here, perhaps, is a point of dispute and confusion.

8 12 2009
pioneer513

Interesting……
“Their disillusion is all that unites them.”
I came across a passage in a book recently – “Sans Peur” by Alastair Borthwick. It describes the feeling of the men who had fought from El Alamein to Berlin during the Second World War. The war has been won and they have had a one night party. He goes on to describe their feelings…..
” It seemed strange in the following days to find the same drab landscape outside our windows. This, we felt, was not the way war should end. We should feel suddenly different. Yet, apart from that one spontaneous and almost unthinking celebration, we never did have any keen personl realisation that for us nearly six years of abnormality were over. Perhaps we were too tired. Perhaps the abnormal had become too much our second nature. The war had just petered out and left us, disillusioned and weary, in a world where even peace had lost its savour. There was nothing left but anticlimax.”
After reading that, I associated it keenly with the what I felt in my years in the NHS.
So much is asked, demanded, given, that at the end, there seems nothing left to savour. The staff have been sucked dry.
It is not an inspiring thought.
But these men were foot soldiers in a foreign land.
Surely there is a difference in the ratio of your power?
Yet, you do not seem to perceive that……
Where is the source of the disempowerment?
Why are our hands so tied?
If we can answer these questions, we may be able to establish what we need to address first and foremost to make us leaders.
What do the managers need to hear before we can fight onwards together?

8 12 2009
inseiffolliet

One of the values of blogging perhaps is the honesty of emotion it captures at a moment in time. There are days when I despair of what is going on and others when I can see that if we do nothing, then we are complicit. Thank you for your encouragement.

8 12 2009
Linda McLean

During my years I have seen many things. I have seen the disempowered become empowered – and vice versa.
On Management, I will tell you this story.
I am old enough to remember the last Matron at Glasgow Royal Infirmary. I was working in A&E one morning as a second year nurse, when I was suddenly aware of a great bustling of activity. Everyone seemed to have vanished – the Matron approached.
To those who have never experienced a Matron, it is very difficult to describe the power she wielded. It was terrifying. Her visits anywhere were always random, and she always manged to arrive silently.
As she bore down on me – obviously zero marks to me for awareness! – I felt like a rabbit caught in the headlights of a car – absolutely frozen with fear.
She greeted me courteously, and I managed to jabber a reply.
“I was wondering if you would lance my boil, Nurse?” she asked, most politely. She showed me a boil on the back of her hand.
My power of speech almost deserted me, but I think I managed to explain that I was only a student (as if she wouldn’t know) and suggested that a Sister, or a Doctor, may be better placed to treat her.
She smiled at me, briefly.
“You don’t understand, do you?” she asked. I shook my head stupidly.
“I am responsible for your training,” she continued. ” I want to see that it is adequate and I am sending someone capable into the outside world. Now, lance my boil, please.”
I don’t know who was more terrified. She displayed no fear – but it is impossible to believe that she was not apprehensive.
On completion, she thanked me, and said I had done a good job.
She departed as noiselessly as she had come.
That is a simple lesson that Management could learn. What it feels like to be a patient. That competence and politeness are important.
Who is going to teach it?
Are there any Managers willing to queue at A&E, with something as simple as a boil, where they might begin to understand?

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