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Staff Stories Go Festive

Santa looking grey and sweaty because he’d forgotten his insulin... A live reindeer’s antlers moulting, then dropping off in front of bewildered young patients... An emergency procedure being carried out, many years ago, below a giant poster of the Angel Gabriel by a nurse wearing drooping deeley boppers... These were among the humorous accounts remembered at a Staff Stories meeting on Monday 10 December at the Audrey Emerton Building, RSCH, under the title A memorable Christmas at work.

But there were touching stories too - of colleagues coming together to share a festive dinner and Alex Hospital staff doing their best to give a child

Melanie Armstrong, Practice Development Senior Sister for Preceptorship and Retention, said: “Staff Stories is the BSUH version of Schwartz Rounds. It’s a safe space to share events and feelings and support each another. And, according to the research, they can positively impact on staff wellbeing and improve multi-disciplinary working.”

Schwartz rounds started in the US almost 25 years ago when health attorney Ken Schwartz was diagnosed with terminal cancer. What mattered to him most as a patient, he found, were the simple acts of kindness of those looking after him, which made the “unbearable bearable”. His legacy was to set up a centre to foster compassion in healthcare. The rounds have been introduced in the UK through the health think tank, the King’s Fund, recognising that staff need support to manage their feelings, as well as strategies to cope with stress. “The rounds,” it says, “provide a forum for staff from a range of disciplines to explore together some of the challenging psychosocial and emotional issues that arise in caring for patients.” The BSUH Christmas meeting was the fourth in the BSUH Staff Stories series this year and staff attending have included doctors, nurses and therapists, as well as admin and clerical staff. Previous themes included: What black escalation feel like; Pain is what the patient says it is – The dilemma; and The emotional impact of safeguarding. Feedback has been positive, with comments such as: ‘Amazing to hear personal stories’; ‘Very powerful; Informative and insightful’; ‘Very interesting to hear other staff members’ point of view’. “I think staff stories are recognition that staff are people and that they have emotions and that’s fine,” says Muna Al-Jawad, Consultant in Elderly Medicine. “It’s about recognising the emotional component of our work. It’s about realising that we’re not super-human. We have emotions and that’s OK. It’s a safe place for staff to be human.” The next staff story will be on the theme “”Nothing went wrong but I still feel bad” on Monday 28 January at AEB from 1-2pm. The team would like to run the Staff Stories monthly, including some at PRH. They’re encouraging people to come forward with their ideas for themes and stories, and also to help run the programme. They can be contacted at or

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