Exploring team learning and development in times of major NHS change

Wheatley, Marie (2010). Exploring team learning and development in times of major NHS change. In: Delivering Better Health Services, 2-3 Jun 2010, Manchester Central Convention Complex, UK.

URL: http://www.sdo.nihr.ac.uk/news140410.html


The study focused on the process of development and learning for one team of staff. Any positive outcomes of good practice would be shared in the NHS organisation.

Objectives of Study
The research is an ethnographic case study of one team of nursing staff involved in ward closure in a Mental Health NHS Trust. The study focused on team development over an eight month period. It considered how teams learn and develop in times of major change in the NHS.

A non-probability sampling method was used. Information was sent to all members of staff employed in the Trust and teams were invited to participate. The criterion was that the group needed to be self-selected, involved in a work related change or development and have a majority consensus that the team were willing to participate.

Data Collection Method
Information was collected using focus groups, interviews, reflective journals and field notes from team meetings.

First, was the absence of team goals, leadership and direction which contributed to the production of a dysfunctional inclusive team who had built up a dependence on each other from necessity.

Secondly, the closing down of the ward created a perceived traumatic loss in participants of the study. All participants experienced a sense of loss and bereavement and exhibited symptoms aligned to the bereavement cycle by Kubler-Ross (1969). The participants perceived that no processes were in place to help them manage their grief, and there was little consideration given to this.

Thirdly, the change management process was not perceived as successful by the team and communication difficulties were a major issue for the participants during the changes. Of fifteen ward-based staff who had commenced the study, only five remained at the conclusion of the study.

The is a paucity of research relating to how NHS staff deal with the changes they experience in their working life

Research implications
Recommendations related to the need for processes to be in place to help employees manage NHS change more proactively. Further study into the issues of loss and grieving regarding work related experiences was recommended.

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