26 February 2019

The Great British Care Awards

As a recently qualified Mental Health Nurse, Jade Stoakes felt so inspired by her team that she felt compelled to enter them for The Great British Care Awards. Having won the south east regional award for Best Team, they’re now looking forward to The National Awards.

The team and the hospital (Cedar House) at which Jade works are not new to her, she’s been working there for eleven years. Jade began as a support worker, having wanted to gain experience before training in mental health. She began her degree in 2014 and with support from Huntercombe, completed it in 2017.

The motivation for Jade to enter the team for the awards came from the great sense of ‘team’ and ‘support’ that she really noticed as a newly qualified nurse on the ward. The team work together on one of our enhanced low secure (ELS) wards, where we provide care and treatment to complex patients with a dual diagnosis of learning disability, autism, personality disorder and mental health disorders alongside challenging behaviours.

Jade says that the way the team work together is a key factor in enabling them to do their jobs well and provide the kind of care our patients need.

The Great British Care Awards are a series of regional events throughout the UK that celebrate excellence across the care sector.  The purpose of the awards is to pay tribute to those individuals who have demonstrated outstanding excellence within their field of work.

The award for Best Team is presented to ‘the team who are able to best demonstrate a shared vision and agreed goals. They should have a leader whose role is known and accepted and who takes personal responsibility for their tasks. Teams should have an excellent communication process and each member’s skills should be recognised within the team. Demonstrating a commitment to dignity and privacy for clients and also respect for team members is paramount.’

In Jade’s own words, the team “always maintains a positive attitude despite the difficult situations we face on a daily basis. We always provide high standards of care and support, managing risks throughout the day and night yet showing great compassion and delivering truly person-centred care. Whilst the team are highly professional and deliver excellent standards of care they still know how to have fun and organise lots of BBQs & parties.

The team understands the importance of always reflecting together and supporting each other and our patients. The team is excellent at recognizing when colleagues need a break or extra support.

We also acknowledge and respect the roles of each individual within the team; our doctor supports us with positive risk taking, our ward manager takes care of another ward yet always attends our reflective practice sessions, our activity coordinator is always thinking of new ideas to motivate the patients and the nurses, and senior support workers and support workers all work very closely to organize each shift to ensure it has maximum therapeutic benefit to our patients.

Staff will often miss breaks to ensure that patients can engage in therapeutic activities, many staff will stay late after the shift has finished ensuring that the ward is safe. The ELS team always goes above and beyond what is expected.”

Furthermore, Jade sought the input of patients about the team, one of whom said:  “The staff on ELS help us achieve our skills and goals, always stay calm and chill when they talk to us, they engage with us without getting angry, they don’t get anxious and help us to stay calm. If you come to this hospital for the first time, the team will provide knowledge and skills about all of us patients on ELS”.

Jade submitted her nomination for the team without their being aware. When she received notification that they had been shortlisted as finalists for the South East Awards she was just thrilled to be able to tell them. The team were really excited and hoped that they were able to represent what they do together well at the first interview stage which took place in Brighton. Whilst the team were really proud of how the interview went they didn’t really know whether this was enough to win the award.

Clearly it was, as the team was thrilled to be announced the Winner of the Best Care Team in the South East Region. This then meant that the team would be shortlisted for the National Awards, where they would compete against all of the other regional winners. Again, the team jumped on a train and went off for interview. Whilst they have everything crossed for another win, Jade says that whether they win or lose, the whole process has been incredibly rewarding and further helped them to bond as a team.

“From travelling and spending time together to attend interviews and award ceremonies, through to being acknowledged as being a great team, the whole process has given us all a real boost. It’s also made us think even more about what makes us stand out as a team; we recognise that each individual brings something different and that is respected and valued. I’d really encourage everybody to enter these types of awards; even if you don’t win, the reflective process is a really good one as it makes you focus on all of the positives and realize what a great team you’re a part of.” Valerie Michie our CEO says “From a Huntercombe perspective, we couldn’t be more proud of all our teams but seeing them win awards is just fantastic. We’ll be keeping everything crossed for the Cedar House team when they attend the national finals in March. Good luck. We’re immensely proud of you!”