- About OPP
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- NHS Foundation Trust
The Head of Nursing and her team at the NHS Foundation Trust had identified a difference between the ethnic mix of nursing staff in Bands 5 and 6 and Bands 7, 8 and 9 – with a much lower ethnic mix in the higher bands.
Keen to investigate the cause of this, the team decided on the development of a junior nursing programme targeted at minority groups within the nursing population, with the goal of nurturing a greater ethnic mix in the more senior bands.
OPP was selected to work with the Trust after going through a formal tender process. The company stood out from the competition because it was flexible but was able to provide a tailor-made solution to the Trust.
The professionalism, depth of knowledge and experience of OPP’s consultancy team also impressed the Trust who decided OPP would bring great value to the project.
OPP worked closely with the Trust’s staff to design a solution. Information was gathered and opinions sought from senior stakeholders and staff already in the more senior roles. A programme was developed to give participants an insight into the responsibilities, opportunities and challenges that form an essential part of a Band 7 Ward Sister or Charge Nurse role, as well as a clearer understanding of the framework of competencies required.
The development programme was intended to help foster the ambitions of junior nurses to move into more senior positions, to identify whether ethnic disparities were due to professional hurdles or personal resistance, and to address the gaps between the different levels in terms of self-confidence, management expertise, breadth of strategic thinking and self-awareness.
Events and seminars were set up to address participants’ development, and a variety of interventions was incorporated into a six-stage programme spanning two days. This quickly became fully subscribed so an additional four development programmes took place over a six-month period.
Some of the outcomes differed from the original proposal, but the consultants were able to work with these changes to develop something that really fitted the needs of the Trust.
The first stage of the programme involved road shows and briefing sessions which encouraged applications from nurses from a full range of ethnic backgrounds. Participants completed background reading, filled in the TKI™ questionnaire and evaluated their perceived skills within the context of the competency framework required for higher bands.
OPP’s psychologists consolidated the data from the TKI to build up a profile of the general operating culture of the junior nursing staff, including which influencing and conflict-handling approaches they used the most. OPP was then able to make a series of recommendations for future training of the nurses.
The next stage was a development day, which revolved around a workplace simulation and observation in which participants completed typical daily tasks of a Ward Sister or Charge Nurse. Talks from speakers from similar backgrounds, workshops exploring aspects of self-awareness and self-confidence and personal development planning sessions also took place. Observations of the simulations were then compiled by the team from the Trust, and OPP’s occupational psychologists wrote up reports for each participant, which were fed back via coaching sessions with staff.
Finally, each participant had a follow-up meeting with their line manager which allowed them to review their own experience during the programme, discuss areas of strength and weakness, and agree an action plan for their ongoing development.
For the majority of competencies, the participants’ score from the simulations was around two-thirds lower than their self-evaluated score before the development. When most participants reassessed themselves after the development, they scored themselves at a more realistic level based on their experiences during the programme. Participants also registered increased levels of motivation to change their habits, behaviours and perspectives, as well as to explore any self-imposed obstacles.
Feedback from both the commissioning staff from the Trust and the programme participants has been overwhelmingly positive but tighter budget restrictions mean that the Trust may not be able to offer such a comprehensive development programme in the near future. However, OPP’s intervention has set the “gold standard” to inspire them to create their own similar development strategies.
“We gained enormously from working with OPP, because they helped us approach things very differently than if we had been left to our own devices. The experience opened our minds to new tools and approaches, and OPP’s professionalism was really aspirational. We were impressed by their delivery and the detailed work they put into each suggestion.”
Running the programme in collaboration with OPP has allowed the Trust to articulate its vision for future development, and has given the organisation practical skills and knowledge of its own, which will inform its future work in this area.
In addition, the experience with OPP has made the Trust aware of how off-the-shelf personality tools such as the TKI can be used in a tailored, cost-effective way to add significant value to development session.
The experience opened our minds to new tools and approaches, and OPP’s professionalism was really aspirational. We were impressed by their delivery and the detailed work they put into each suggestion.
Delegate, Head of Nursing. NHS Foundation Trust