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Chief Nurse's Blog

Chief Nurse's Blog

Date of release: 1 June 2021

Latest News: Ann-Marie Cannaby Blog

At both Walsall Healthcare Trust and The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust (RWT), we believe looking after the health and wellbeing of our staff is essential. Without staff that are well and at work, the NHS could not deliver quality and effective care to patients.  Both WHT and RWT have a number of different resources to help support staff. One exciting approach we introduced at RWT in 2020 is professional advocacy. 

The role of the Professional Advocate (PA) is to provide support using restorative supervision to enhance health and wellbeing for staff. 

So what is restorative supervision? It is an opportunity for a member of staff to take some time out for themselves to explore an issue, event or aspect of their work or home life they want to change, improve or reflect on. It is a two-way process with no set agenda, but with time to think and with the help of a facilitator – the Professional Advocate – you can start to understand how feelings and emotions can impact on ourselves and those around us. The aim is not to solve problems for you, but to support you to find your own conclusions and develop an action plan, if appropriate, to help you move forward. You might even have a ‘light bulb’ moment!

RWT first implemented professional advocacy into midwifery to replace statutory supervision and it has been very successful, so we have decided to adopt the role and model into nursing and health visiting.

We are implementing the role in a structured way to support nurses and health visitors’ wellbeing, contribute to quality improvement and retain staff. The Trust is being supported by the University of Worcester in the provision of education for PAs. As well as improvements in wellbeing, advantages of the model are expected to include improved teamwork and professionalism, and ensuring the voice of staff is heard. 

Rachael Tomlinson has trained as a PA and says: “I’ve utilised the skills every day, by completing short, unofficial adhoc restorative clinical supervision sessions with various members of the team I work with. I’ve also been promoting the role of the PA and Professional Midwifery Advocates (PMAs). I’ve been utilising all other aspects of the A-EQUIP (Advocating for Education and Quality Improvement) – the model the PAs and PMAs base our qualification and work on – every day. I’ve also been a PA supervisor for a member of staff from January to May this year, guiding them throughout the PA course and supervising their competency portfolio.”

In addition to the professional midwifery advocates, 14 people have already completed the programme and are starting their PA journey. If you are interested in becoming a PA or would like to find out if there is one in your area, speak to your line manager. 

It’s an exciting opportunity, but also an important one for those receiving a PA’s support because we all need to look after ourselves and take care of each other.

Take care,

A Teaching Trust of the University of Birmingham