Hospital staff use ‘nudge theory’ to boost health and wellbeing during Covid-19

#OnlyHuman promo film

Featured on BBC London TV news and in the Revealing Reality-produced film above, King’s College Hospital (KCH) has adopted the HIN’s behavioural science workforce support campaign #OnlyHuman to help prevent staff burnout caused by the pressures of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Key statistics

King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust employs over 11,000 staff.

Hundreds of staff at King’s College Hospital have embraced ‘nudge theory’ to help protect their wellbeing during the pandemic.

The hospital has become the first to adopt a workforce-wide campaign called #OnlyHuman that uses behavioural insights to prompt frontline staff to take action that helps protect their physical and mental wellbeing. The move comes after King’s trialled the campaign last year and emergency and critical care teams reported a positive impact during a highly challenging period during the pandemic.

The campaign takes a peer-to-peer approach to prompt staff, who sometimes struggle to identify
signs of stress in themselves, to spot early signs of strain within colleagues and use these tools to then take simple actions. These include check in with colleagues regularly to make sure they’re taking breaks, drinking enough water, implementing brief huddles before and after shifts and simply showing kindness to each other.

Behavioural experts maintain that if staff can are prompted to use these behaviours, this creates a ripple effect because social cues reinforce the behaviours and embed them into the workforce.

Devised at pace over eight weeks in response to Covid-19, behavioural insight specialists worked in conjunction with healthcare professionals across multiple trusts to identify key themes to address. The themes included: Checking in, Recharging, Managing Uncertainty, Warming up and down and Kindness.

This was a joint project between behavioural research specialists Revealing Reality and the NHS’s Health Innovation Network, funded by The Health Foundation.

Dr Claire McDonald, Principal Clinical Psychologist and Lead Psychologist for Staff Support at King’s College Hospital, said:

“The Covid-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented time for our frontline health and care staff. Staff have worked tirelessly to care for patients including those who have been critically ill. There is also the broader context of fear and uncertainty about the risks and evolving situation, coupled with an erosion of our natural ways of coping due to restrictions.

“This understandably takes a toll, as we are ‘Only Human’. That’s why we rolled out the campaign, as one strand of our KCH staff support offer, to encourage staff to look after themselves and each other through various tips and simple measures. We brought the campaign into our Wellbeing Hubs and many teams and departments including Emergency and Critical Care. To provide the very best care to patients our staff first need to be well resourced. Extra levels of stress require extra levels of self-care and looking out for each other.”

KCH’s Christine Brown Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Team Leader Mairead Trant said:

“I think this is a fantastic initiative to help frontline staff cope with the emotional strain that sometimes comes with the work we do. It’s important that we take time to look after ourselves and each other and reflect on what happens each day.

“By taking time to talk to someone you trust, it can help greatly to ease the stress and improve mental wellbeing. This initiative really focuses on this theme and will have huge health benefits for staff.”

“I think this is a fantastic initiative to help frontline staff cope with the emotional strain that sometimes comes with the work we do.”KCH’s Christine Brown Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Team Leader Mairead Trant.

Health Innovation Network Programme Director in the Patient Safety and Experience team Catherine Dale said:

“It’s great that King’s College Hospital staff found our #OnlyHuman campaign useful during Covid-19 and have since adopted it.

“When the pandemic hit we recognised the emotional toll it was taking on healthcare staff. Behavioural insights – also known as ‘nudge theory’ – encourage people to act in helpful ways. We applied this approach to develop a suite of materials to help healthcare professional support each other during these enormously challenging times.”

Further information

Download the #OnlyHuman resource pack today.

Download now

We're here to help

Contact our Patient Experience & Patient Safety team.

Email us
 

Invitation to pitch: digital workforce transformation showcase

Invitation to pitch: digital workforce transformation showcase

We all know that the NHS is facing increasing demands on its services. Alongside the challenges of recruiting and retaining clinical professionals, there is a role for technology as a driver of productivity within the clinical workforce.

Working in collaboration with NHS England, and NHS Improvement, the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator is running a showcase event for HR Directors exploring how technology can help NHS staff and employers to improve workforce productivity, recruitment and retention.

We are looking for ten companies to present their innovations, and in particular, innovations that are already being used by NHS employers and that meet workforce challenges including:

  • Recruitment / time to hire
  • HR transactional tasks / HR productivity
  • Workforce capacity management / clinical workforce productivity
  • Retention
  • Staff wellbeing (physical and mental health)

If selected, you will give a three-minute pitch to the audience on how they could adopt your innovation(s) in their organisations. You will also participate in our “world café” session to discuss your solution in more detail. We aim to help you generate warm leads by curating a receptive audience for workforce innovations.

We are looking for innovations that are already well-developed – this is not an event for innovations at the idea stage.

Please apply to take part by downloading and completing this short form and returning it to geraldine.murphy8@nhs.net by 5pm on Friday 10 May.

Event details

  • Date and time: Tuesday 11 June, 17:00 – 20:30
  • Venue: DAC Beachcroft, Walbrook Building, 25 Walbrook, EC4N 8AF

Agenda

  • 16:30-17:00 Registration
  • 17:00- 17:05 Welcome
  • 17:05-17:15 Clinical Productivity – Andy Howlett, Clinical Productivity Operations Director, NHS England / Improvement
  • 17:15-17:25  Can technology and artificial intelligence help to improve workforce productivity and create a more agile workforce? What can be done now? – Lesley Soden, Head of Innovation, Health Innovation Network
  • 17:25-17:35 NHS Trust Case Study: Lessons from transforming our medical workforce – Alfredo Thompson, HR Director, North Middlesex Hospitals NHS Trust; Dr Frances Evans, Medical Director, North Middlesex Hospitals NHS Trust
  • 17:35-17:50 Q&A
  • 17:50-18:20 Company pitches
  • 18:20-18:30 Close – Lesley Soden, Head of Innovation, Health Innovation Network
  • 18:30-20:00 Refreshments and networking

 

Health innovation body in south London scoops Financial Times/VitalityHealth healthiest workplace prize

Health innovation body in south London scoops Financial Times/VitalityHealth healthiest workplace prize

HIN has been recognised as one of Britain’s Healthiest Workplaces in the prestigious Financial Times/VitalityHealth Britain’s Healthiest Workplace competition.

 

 

A south London organisation that promotes the spread of health and care innovations into the NHS is the healthiest small new entrant in the prestigious Financial Times Britain’s Healthiest Workplace survey.

 

The Health Innovation Network in south London, which employs 70 staff including nurses and paramedics, offers free yoga and mindfulness classes as well as ‘standing up’ desks, showers for running and cycling clubs. It also promotes a book club and discourages staff from engaging with emails after 7pm or at weekends.

 

“We want to make sure people switch off, so we have a curfew to help our staff recharge. You need to be with your family and friends in your free time,” says chief executive Tara Donnelly. Tara switched off digitally on holiday in August for two weeks.

 

“I’m delighted that we have won such a prestigious award and against such tough opposition. We take pride in promoting healthier living for all of our staff and encouraging colleagues in the NHS to do the same. Given we are in the business of innovating in health care and helping people take healthy decisions it is only right that we seek to do the same as an organisation.

 

“We are very proud of our staff at the Health Innovation Network. We need to look after them and keep them. It makes sense morally and it makes business sense,” she added.

 

Britain’s Healthiest Workplace was developed by VitalityHealth and is delivered in partnership with the Financial Times, RAND Europe, University of Cambridge and Mercer

Britain’s Healthiest Workplace aims to celebrate organisations that have an outstanding approach to their employees’ health and wellbeing and is one of the UK’s largest and most comprehensive surveys into employee health.