Julie Kemmner, Clinical Community Dietitian and Team Lead, in the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at Torbay Hospital, spoke to us about her team wellbeing workshop with psychotherapist Jody Merelle from the Devon Wellbeing Hub.
What made you get in touch with the Devon Wellbeing Hub?
We’re a small team of Clinical Community Dietitians, which has grown from five to 13 in the past few years. Like many other teams, COVID-19 has also meant the whole way we work has completely changed. We used to be able to visit patients and come back to our office and reflect, but now we’ve had to adapt to working more remotely. We can see some really distressing and complex situations and not having that chance to regroup and reflect together can be really difficult. It’s a lot to take on.
I heard about the Hub through another dietetics team lead who mentioned they had a workshop with Jody and recommended it. I’m really keen to make sure we’re supporting wellbeing in the team. It’s fundamental to everything. If you’ve got a happy, healthy and looked after team they support each other and care for their patients. They stay in their jobs, enjoy their work and want to be there. It’s really crucial.
Was it easy to book a workshop?
It was really easy. I just visited the Hub website and put in a request. Jody then met with me on MS Teams to see what we wanted and needed. She made sure the session was tailored specifically for us. For our team, it was about connecting again.
What did your workshop involve?
Our wellbeing workshop took place in May this year at Teignmouth Pavilion and it was the first time in almost two and a half years that the whole team had been together face-to-face. Being by the sea really helped with our wellbeing and it was good to have it in a different environment away from a work setting. At lunch time we all sat on the seafront and had fish and chips together. We made a day of it.
The session was about spending time together and reflecting on what we’d been through in the last couple of years and how things had changed. We also looked forward to the future and what we need to do to keep going as a team.
Everyone was given the opportunity to anonymously describe how they felt about being in the team and it was valuable for me to understand how the team were honestly feeling. Some time was also spent on individual wellbeing. Jody’s perspective of working with so many other teams was hugely valuable because she was able to see how well we were operating, despite what we’d been through.
Did the team find the session beneficial?
We’ve had really good feedback from the session and everyone really enjoyed it. It boosted the team as a whole.
When I caught up with them after the session, they gave me examples of how they had used what they’d learnt and what they had done differently the next day in terms of helping their wellbeing and maintaining their resilience.
There’s been clear outcomes from the sessions, so much so that Jody is coming back and doing more work with us around solution-based problem solving.
It can be hard to take people out of work because effectively you’re asking them to stop their clinical work for a day, which they then have to catch up on. That work doesn’t just go away so you don’t want people to feel that the session was a waste and nothing changes, but Jody was fantastic. She wasn’t patronising at all. She connected really well with everyone in the team and everybody participated. She shared her life experience too which was really powerful.
Just having somebody external outside of the team specifically dedicated for wellbeing is hugely beneficial.
Would you recommend the Hub to others?
Yes, without hesitation.
In addition to the workshop, Jody provided me with 1-2-1 support. As a team lead supporting others, it is essential to have some time out for my own resilience too. As I’ve said before every team needs a Jody! Our experience has just been brilliant. I can’t fault it.
Jody said: “This team was a really inspirational one to work with as they have found ways to remain positive and creative throughout the worst challenges brought by the pandemic.
“As well as giving the team a chance to bond better with each other, we were also able to reflect together on the strengths of the team and the things that were already working well. Julie conveniently forgets to mention in her comments how much her leadership was cited by team members as being a reason for the team’s success! The low turnover rate of staff within the team is testament to that.
“My personal view is that one of the most valuable things we can do in a workshop is to take the opportunity of being together to look at concrete ways of moving forward in order to move towards the goals set by the team. The engagement and creativity in this team made this process very easy. I have been lucky enough to have the opportunity of meeting up with them again to look at solution-focused practice and how this can be applied in their own particular setting.”
Get in touch
If you work in healthcare, social care or the police in Devon and lead a team who would benefit from support, please get in touch by calling 0300 303 5455 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, mentioning ‘team support’. If you are looking for 1:1 support, you can fill out the simple referral form on the Devon Wellbeing Hub website.
If you’ve been supported by the Devon Wellbeing Hub and would like to share your experience, please get in touch with Lauren Batten, Staff Wellbeing Communications and Engagement Coordinator, at email@example.com