Inspiring leadership: leading self; leading with others in a palliative care setting

With increased confidence to lead and drive service improvement, participants cite The Inspiring Leadership Programme as the catalyst to them successfully obtaining more senior roles within palliative care.

Fiona Wylie is a Senior Nurse for Strategy and Development at the Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice in Glasgow. She has worked at the hospice for 5 years mainly focusing on the development of services for young adults, but has also been involved in the leadership and development of staff at all levels.

The focus

Fiona: Under the umbrella of the leadership strand of my role, in 2016 I was involved in setting up a Palliative Care Leadership Steering Group with colleagues from acute services, other hospices and in partnership with National Education for Scotland (NES) Leadership Unit. The aim of this partnership was to look to develop a leadership programme for palliative care that would encourage Clinical Nurse Specialists and other Allied Health Professionals from specialist palliative care teams adopt a more proactive approach to service delivery and to embed the values, behaviours, and attitudes of leadership into their day-to-day role.

The importance

Fiona: It is recognised that within Palliative Care, staff are working in a time of organisational change with increasing complexity around their specialist roles. As a result, staff reported feeling more vulnerable and stressed as they struggle to deliver high quality care to patients and their families. Newly appointed staff report being affected by the stress levels within teams. In addition, teams report a desire to be more proactive as opposed to reactive in the delivery of their palliative care services.

In response to above, a 12-month ‘Inspiring Leadership: Leading self; leading with others in a palliative care setting was set up. The Inspiring Leadership is referred to as a programme rather than a course. This recognises the key role that participants’ organisations play in supporting their development. This includes support while they are on the programme and ongoing support to sustain their development.

The impact

Fiona: The Leadership Programme helps because it offers the participant 7 classroom/virtual days with an additional 2-hour coaching/feedback session centered on their 360 feedback. The years’ timetable includes a Launch day, 5 workshops/masterclass days/action learning sets and an end of programme Celebration Event.

The themes for the programme gathered from focus groups in 2016 have proven as relevant with subsequent cohorts. The participants will have exposure to high level workshops/masterclasses including:

  • Shifting carpet
  • Personal effectiveness
  • Influencing skills
  • Quality Improvement.

Master classes:

  • 360 feedback (identify strengths & development needs)
  • Myers-Briggs Type testing (how we perceive the world/ make decisions)
  • Quality Improvement (safe, effective, timely patient centred healthcare)
  • Presentation and panel discussions with current Leaders in their field.

Action Learning Sets (group work to address issues & work collectively).

The programme ends with a celebration event including presenting QI projects and highlighting the difference the programme has made to them and their leadership qualities. The programme for many is viewed as the start of a journey rather than the end. Participants are encouraged to network and link into other opportunities that are available for leadership development nationally through NHS Education for Scotland, Healthcare Improvement Scotland, and other organisations.

The evidence

Fiona: Success of this programme has centred around participants’ increased confidence to lead and drive service improvement. Evidence of this is the number of participants citing the programme as being the catalyst to them successfully obtaining more senior roles within palliative care, which in itself has supported succession planning within such a specialist field.

“My confidence in my ability has grown significantly over the last 12 months and it is definitely down to this programme. The combination of the different leadership tools along with everyone being from a palliative care background provided me with this excellent learning opportunity.” (Participant)

In turn, the increasing confidence supported a stronger sense of self-efficacy or self-belief and this enabled the participants to tackle some of the challenging issues that they were facing:

“I have pushed myself to become more involved with certain aspects which were challenging. …Still challenging but I feel more able to tackle them.” (Participant)

The peer support and shared learning on the programme had also provided participants with new skills to approach challenges and a safe environment to talk things through and generate ideas as the following quotes illustrate:

“I have developed professional links as well as friendships through this programme.” (Participant)

While many of the participants found the QI input and the project really challenging, it did seem to impact in the way that had been hoped when designing the programme in that it gave the participants the opportunity for stretch and development of new skills:

“It has developed my confidence and ability to lead on Q projects and focus more on service development, I value this aspect of my role now and find it more rewarding and less stressful.” (Participant)

The funding

The team were successful in their initial grant application in 2016 to The Burdett Trust for Nursing Grant Programme – ‘Support Building Nursing Leadership Capacity and Capability’. With planning and committed partnership work between the different organisations this original one year’s funding has been able to fund 3 cohorts from 2017-2020 with 34 participants completing the programme free of charge.

Without this funding this project may not have got off the ground and would not be the success it is today.

The future

Due to the COVID19 pandemic the planning team evolved to facilitate the 2020 cohort by moving the programme onto a virtual platform. Cohort 1-3 of Leadership Programme recruited CNS and other AHP from specialist palliative care teams across the West of Scotland.

Due to its success the autumn 2021 programme will be open to all multi-professional colleagues within specialist palliative care from across Scotland including Specialist Trainee doctors. The cost for the year’s programme is £400.

About The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice

Facebook: @PPWHospice
Twitter: @PPWHospice
YouTube: The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice
LinkedIn: The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice

About Burdett Trust for Nursing
Facebook: @burdetttrust
Twitter: @burdetttrust
Instagram: @burdetttrust

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