The Board Award recognises people who have made a difference, demonstrating their commitment and compassion in helping to achieve our vision. This award is chosen and awarded by the Chairman and Chief Executive.
This year’s winner was the Devon Wellbeing Hub. We spoke to the Hub’s Clinical and Operational Manager, Beth Fisher, about the support the Hub provides and what she enjoys most about being part of the team.
How does it feel to have won the Pride of DPT board award?
It was a lovely surprise to win the Board Award. I was especially pleased that the award recognises the work of the Wellbeing Hub in reflecting the organisations visions and values; compassion is central to the work we do and how we work as a team, and I was pleased our innovative and creative approach to developing and improving our service has been acknowledged.
Jody Merelle, a Psychotherapist in the Hub, added: “What the last year has underlined for me is how important it is to look after the wellbeing of all staff in health and social care. I hope this award is a positive sign that moving forward we will be able to increase and develop the support offered to staff and that eventually the Wellbeing Hub will become a permanent fixture within Devon.”
What is the main purpose of your team? And what does a typical day look like?
The Devon Wellbeing Hub provides free, confidential support for colleagues working in healthcare, social care and the police who are struggling with any element of their wellbeing.
We offer support to individuals and teams in a variety of ways. Individuals can make an appointment to speak with one of our Colleague Wellbeing Practitioners. Their role is to offer rapid assessment and priority referral/signposting to relevant sources of support. There isn’t any fixed referral criteria, any colleagues working in health and social care or the police can get in touch to talk with one of the team about anything wellbeing-related. They offer a safe and confidential space to talk things through and help identify a way forwards. We always offer at least one follow up appointment to check in.
Our Clinical Psychologists and Psychotherapists support teams, primarily providing wellbeing workshops and reflective practice sessions. Teams reach out to the Hub for all sorts of reasons: some may be really impacted by COVID-19 or having a particularly challenging time, and it can provide an opportunity to come together and think about their wellbeing and how they are supporting each other. Sometimes teams are having an away day and want to focus on their wellbeing and their strengths.
Chaplains add value to the support provided by the Wellbeing Hub, offering pastoral care to colleagues. They offer listening support to people who are struggling in some capacity and they might offer one or two sessions or work with someone for quite a long period of time.
The team’s days are very varied. They might be out and about doing workshops, they might be on-site in a clinical setting offering drop-in support, or they might be meeting managers to plan sessions to see what people’s needs are. Individual appointments are largely over the phone or on MS Teams, and then we often attend events such as Devon County Show or local Pride events.
A lot of people prefer online assessments as it’s more convenient. They don’t have to travel so it’s easier. For teams work, we get more requests for face-to-face workshops as it helps teams come together in that different way. It’s often beneficial if we can meet face-to-face, obviously following relevant COVID-19 measures. One of the differences working with staff is that difficulty in asking for help and reaching out. The drop-in sessions help take away these barriers. You know someone is there to have a chat about your wellbeing. It can be easier than having to arrange an appointment.
What qualifications and training do the team have? And what career paths have people taken?
It’s very varied across the team. The Colleague Wellbeing Practitioners are currently all qualified Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners by background, all with significant experience working in a variety of mental health settings including IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) services. There are also two Clinical Psychologists and a Solution Focused Psychotherapist. I’m a CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) therapist and RMN by background, and then we have the Chaplains who have taken various career paths.
What are some of the challenges the team faces?
We don’t have a base as we were set up during COVID-19, which means that we’ve not been able to come together as a team regularly. We’re working on being able to get together at least one a month to do something face-to-face. I think never having formed those face-to-face relationships really does make a difference. We recently had an away day with Horsemanship for Health which was a great opportunity for us to all meet in person and connect.
What do you enjoy most about being part of this team?
I enjoy all of it. It’s a brilliant team to work with and a brilliant service we’re providing. I couldn’t work with a better group of people and everyone in the team is so motivated to want to provide a really good service to our colleagues. As we’re a fairly new service, it’s been really exciting developing the different offers of support and having that flexibility to work creatively when exploring how we can support out colleagues in the best way possible.
What motivates your team?
Most of the team were in post when I started, but it’s really struck me how everyone in the team has been drawn to the Wellbeing Hub because of what we do and wanting to make a difference. We all know first-hand what it is like working in the NHS and how tough the last few years have been, and this motivates us to want to make things better and do everything we can to support our colleagues.
What achievement is your team most proud of?
I think setting up a new service in such a quick way and developing it as we have is a big achievement. Everyone in the team has helped shape the service and make it what it is. We also get such nice feedback and I think that’s a reflection of how the team are doing a really brilliant job.
What do you and your team do to unwind?
Once a month we do reflective practice as a team which is a great opportunity for us to come together and discuss things as a group that may be on our mind. We recently enjoyed our team away day that allowed more informal conversations in a peaceful setting.
Personally, I love being able to get out camping. I’m quite outdoorsy – I like getting out by the sea and going paddle boarding. I know some others in the team are keen paddle boarders too.
And finally… how would you sum up your team in one word?