Case Study 1 – Training Workshops - St George’s NHS Hospital Trust

We were invited by St George’s Training and Development to design a Service Experience programme for front-line staff at the Trust. Their main objective was to have a programme that would clearly demonstrate the importance of treating customers as individuals. 

We set out to provide a programme that would help participants to understand how important our daily interactions and communications are and the effect they can have. So we explore the effects of good and bad communication and what it looks like. We also felt it important that they put themselves in the ‘shoes’ of the customer and begin to get a detailed picture of their journey, the people they are likely to meet, the questions they will have, the concerns, anxieties and then what can we do in our role to assist them. What are their questions? What can I do to help? We focus a lot on communication and communication styles. Participants take part in exercises where they experience first hand what it’s like to be on the receiving end of both bad and good customer care. Using the actors they can witness real life scenarios taking place that mirror what’s happening on the wards and through them learn how best to deal with difficult issues and situations. 

We were very precise in making sure that the acting scenarios that we play out mirror what actually takes place. We observed receptionists, porters, security staff and HCA’s in action and spoke to them about their experiences and gathered from them what they wanted from the training. We also spoke to patients about their experiences. The whole session is trainer led and we bring into play simple but ready to use models that they can apply in their daily communications.

We also look at the values of the hospital and ask the question “how can we make these values real?” “What can you do?” “How can you make a person’s experience as good as it can be?” We also make them aware of cultural differences and that treating people how you would like to be treated is a good intention but may not be the right way. The emphasis is on treating people as they would like to be treated and we use the SDI model to explore this. On a practical level they are consistently engaged, working in pairs, small groups, and we have a bespoke role-play session in the afternoon where each participant has an opportunity to role-play a scenario that they feel would be of use to them.

We are not too prescriptive on this and let them have free reign. But the focus is on interactions with patients and visitors. It might be dealing with an upset relative, or a difficult patient or an irate visitor. By working in small groups with the actors and trainer they get concentrated feedback and support from observers and then very importantly we have them replay the situation adding in any useful tips, hints taken from feedback as well as the morning’s training input. 

The feedback has been universally excellent and St George’s have stated that there is a renewed energy and commitment towards delivering an excellent patient experience from those who have attended. We run courses both for face-to-face and telephone skills.

I now have the confidence to interact with patients coming into the hospital”
”Loved the course, one of the best I've been on. Will definitely recommend it. Thanks!”
”The course was the best I've been on - I will certainly take away everything I've learnt today - Thank you”
”I think this course should be offered to everybody in the Trust. Even if one has done it before there should be refreshers.”
”Excellent course co-ordinators”
”One of the best and enjoyable courses I have been on in a long long time.”
”I will not hesitate to recommend this course to anyone. This is a rare treat. Gave me confidence in a wide range of encounters between patients and relatives.”

Course Participants, St George’s NHS Hospital Trust, St Helier Hospital, South London Hospitals