Support for those emotionally supporting colleagues

I’m interested to learn how others have been supporting their clinical teams during the pandemic - and what access they have to support and/or supervision for themselves?

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Hi Isaac!

Welcome to the community.

That is such an interesting and important question. I think I have come to two conclusions…

Firstly, I have not known a time when it has been more important to give people space to just let out, just talk about what is happening for them. Often, you hear of pressures and challenges way beyond the work situation, and realise there may be nowhere else that could have been shared. After that, there can be time to think about what might be helpful.

When it comes to receiving support/supervision, I’ve found really helpful to have in my mind that again many people of experience have been painfully affected by the pandemic, and are not so free to offer support at this time. But there are many, who I think share my values, share my humour, and they may not be in my discipline or organisation, but we seem to be in the same place, and that feels very supportive.

I’m also feeling supported by those that have and do inspire me…such as colleagues in Public Health England who have quietly and effectively worked throughout the pandemic, with barely any recognition, much scapegoating and the termination of their organisation. Yet they keep working and responding to the third wave. Not sure how, but I find that gives me strength.

Welcome @IsaacA. Great to see you in the community and thanks for your thoughts and questions. It’s great to see the activity!

That’s a really interesting point, @IsaacA. This is definitely something that needs careful consideration and continuous reminders.

I work in a team that supports health and social care staff and I just had a really brilliant hour long supervision (don’t always have the luxury of it being an hour!). It was a great combination of checking in with how people were doing, and actioning discussion points so that it doesn’t become just a space for talking about how people are doing, or alternatively, just another ‘tick box’ meeting.

Making time to emotionally support colleagues on a daily basis is always appreciated but is also one of the first things people tend to forget about when work becomes stressful. I wonder if there are any tips or tricks that could help people implement emotional ‘check-ins’ regularly.

I totally agree @RDG that it feels like we are somehow in a connected and shared space moving through this pandemic. It’s a really good feeling and helps me keep going.

I also often wonder how line managers are doing. They often seem to have a jam packed working schedule and seem to take on lots of people’s thoughts!

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Hi @Sophie, it sounds like having boundaries around the supervision space - and ensuring it is attending to both the experience and task - is very important. With check-ins, my clinical team has been implementing shift reflections for the last 10 months, which is facilitated by someone from the psychology team. This started off as something happening three times/week, however now it has dropped down to twice/week. It is a space that aims to bring everyone in, irrespective of line manager status, which I think is of great value. If you’re interested, you might find the following paper useful: The ‘shift reflection’ model of group reflective practice: a pilot study in an acute mental health setting

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That’s a really interesting read @IsaacA. Thank you for sharing!

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I wonder whether it will be possible to create such spaces here, in the forum? I was thinking about how many people work flat out, beyond their hours, and it can be hard to find space during the day.

I know that may not be ideal, but also increasing demands in some sectors do make it hard to protect those times for reflection and support.

That would be amazing if possible! I know I would really benefit from such a space, but understand there might be confidentiality issues. If a ‘contract’ as such could be agreed upon by all contributing and viewing members that might help?
Having a space with colleagues in the same job role as you can be really rewarding but it can also be nice to get insight and ideas from people in other jobs too.

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I was wondering @Sophie whether what is so important about supervision is having someone tell that you are doing great work and it is recognised. Sometimes we can get that from our clients, but it can really give you a boost when a senior colleague says it?

Yes that is definitely something I have found useful from supervision. Really important to feel valued at work by both clients and our bosses.
I think it is also nice to reach out to other people in the team, not necessarily less senior members when the work they have done has been appreciated. Sounds like a small thing but for me it goes a long way and I remember it a long time afterwards. It also helps me feel closer to my team when we chat about how we are doing and what else is going on in our lives, outside of work.
What have you found has emotionally supported you @RDG?

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@Sophie I completely agree, that being part of a small, vibrant team, that keeps going, has been immensely supportive; they are really great people.
But what has also helped me, is discovering people I didn’t know before, whose continuing work over COVID has been awesome. Reminds me of @Todd suggesting meeting new people can help with feelings of isolation, and really give you a boost. I guess we are still lucky that London is full of so many diverse people and communities, and so you get to learn a lot too. (Not an advert for the 5 ways to well-being, but it could be :rofl:)

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It’s amazing how new people can turn into valuable colleagues or friends. It’s sometimes easy to become entrenched in ‘what we know’ and play it safe. However, occasionally opening new doors can lead to fulfilling experiences

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@darren That really resonates with me. I find it scary reaching out to people I don’t know but 9 times out of 10, it is SO lovely and beneficial.
@RDG What are the 5 ways to well-being again?! They sound really useful!

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Thanks for sharing this helpful resource with the community, @IsaacA!

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