“Staff care: How to engage staff in the NHS and why it matters”

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We all know how those white papers are a little hard to take in. Luckily for you my inner geek takes over every Tuesday as I spend more time updating Physiowizz and trying to develop my own knowledge but also to share as much as possible with our followers.

This particular document is of particular interest to me

“Staff care: How to engage staff in the NHS and why it matters”

Frustrated Staff

I don’t work directly for the NHS. They didn’t want me. I applied as a new grad for hundreds of jobs with a CV that included work experience at sports clubs, NHS hospitals, 3 months in Africa and the work ethic of someone who wanted to create change.

Perhaps my personal statement wasn’t up to it, perhaps I didn’t have the right attitude but I still feel there was a lack of help and guidance to help me get that job hence why Physiowizz was created.  Perhaps it is the responsibility of the CSP who do have some fantastic resources see here or the universities. But why not combine our knowledge, share our resources to benefit the whole profession?

Before we get onto investing in improving HOW staff feel how about investing in staff? A few years after I graduated I was employed as locum within the NHS. They paid me £5 extra an hour to do the same job. The irony, when they could have hired me as bank and I would have worked for less money and been just as happy. There appears to be so much false economy within the NHS and replacing senior staff with lower bands will never ensure that services stay valuable.

WE NEED those experienced members to be valued to educate and teach those coming through. If you want to be the best surely you need to surround yourself with the best?

‘Investing in improving how staff feel is not just a “good thing”; it is nothing less than a necessary condition for a sustainable future as an NHS organisation.’


“Satisfaction is slowly improving, but only two in five feel their work is sufficiently valued.”

2/5 feel valued!  This is a poor statistic and how I felt when working on my student placements.

One particular reflection sticks in my mind. It was 5.15pm we finished at 5pm and I had been doing some extra reading. As a third year I had my own caseload and had been seeing patients independently.  My educator was still doing notes and I asked if I could pop up to remind one of my patients to do his exercises and check he’d received pain relief (the nurse had been too busy to get it following our treatment earlier).

My educator had replied “ Well you can if you want but it shows poor time management skills which may be reflected in your mark, you are making others look bad you know?”

I had pretended to leave and then gone straight up to check on Mr. X who had not received pain relief. Now for me, this comment made me very angry and frustrated. I was aware it was the end of the day however this was something I felt I needed to do otherwise I would be worrying at 11pm that night whether he had received his pain relief or not.  Surely this compassion and care beyond the line of work should have been praised and encouraged? If it had been me I would have wanted someone to do that for me. Thats why we became physio’s right for that vocation? That feel good factor? Its hardly to become a millionaire!

So how do we make people feel more valued? We know that one of the biggest motivators is recognition. This costs nothing! Within a practice/department ‘physio of the month’ or praise on achievements is something easily implemented.

But its not just a managers responsibility. Promoting recognition within the team is easy. As an individual complimenting a member of staff particularly when working in doubles is important ie “That was a really good assessment. It was difficult because of Mrs. Jones family and I felt you handled that very well.” When complimenting some one in a different profession it is perhaps more valuable as you have a different skill set ie “Thank you for encouraging Mrs. Jones with her exercises, she must be working hard because they are improving quickly and I feel your input has helped.”

How do you think staff would feel more valued? Have your say  on our forum….

Staff engagement

“Levels of stress and presenteeism (where people feel pressure to attend work even though they are unwell) are striking.”

My special interest is in pain and the brain and how stress affects our pain. Presenteeism (people coming to work even if feeling unwell) is also counter productive and inefficient. In larger corporations they invest in hot stone massage therapist coming in to give massages every two weeks because they recognize the importance of removal from stressful environments.  With an average of 40 physios in large hospitals is this not a service we could provide?!

Offering acupuncture/massage (an hour out of some ones day) as a service funded by the hospital could help reduce stress levels and would help build relationships and respect for physios within the hospital.  38% felt unwell because of work related stress.

Of course sourcing reasons for stress and changing these is also important.

“Try out small changes rather than one transformation”

Task: identify irritating things for staff during the day. Discuss solutions and trial them.

Only 55% would recommend their organization as a place to work!

Why do you think this is? Have you say on our forum.

A thought to leave you with…..

“The NHS could release as many as 3.4m additional available working days each year if it reduced current rates of sickness absence by a third – a potential saving of £555m (Boorman, 2009). The number of staff who intend to leave is significantly related to the proportion of staff costs spent on agency staff “

The report included other interesting points on engagement and simple ways to improve this within the NHS. Click here to learn more….


1. “Staff care: How to engage staff in the NHS and why it matters”

2.Independent Review Team led by Steven Boorman, 2009. The Boorman Review: Interim Report.

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