Shared learning database

Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
Published date:
September 2008

An education and practice development program for staff in secondary mental health care to develop and help staff implement best practice in day services

Guidance the shared learning relates to:
Does the example relate to a general implementation of all NICE guidance?
Does the example relate to a specific implementation of a specific piece of NICE guidance?


Aims and objectives

The aim was to provide a 10 week education program that targets staff working in day services. It aims to link theory and practice allowing clinicians to develop specific interventions for people in secondary mental health services in line with NICE guidance. The course is underpinned by the recovery process and wellbeing. Specific focus is on early intervention in dementia, psychoeducation as an approach, wellbeing and depression, psychoeducation for older people with for people with bipolar. The course facilitates the development of these interventions county wide through a practice development process. At the end of the course, Action Learning Sets are used to facilitate the implementation of initiatives from the course. The course also provided clinicians with a practice development network which supports them through change and new ways of working. Led by a Lecturer Practitioner, the course utilised links with the University. The course will be receiving a kite mark of Recognition of Educational Quality from the University. Participants on the course will also have the opportunity to pursue accreditation for their practice development by linking with the university flexible leaning program where practice development activity is awarded university level credits. 1. To provide staff with an educational process / forum which facilitates practice development 2. To allow staff the opportunity to understand: a. national and local policy drivers which drive change, b. the recovery approach as a framework for practice, c. evidence based practice when working with specific client groups 3. To facilitate the implementation of specific interventions across west Sussex (Early intervention memory management, depression and well-being and psychoeducation program for older people with bi-polar).

Reasons for implementing your project

Prior to the course, mental health day services in the western sector were patchy. Over the previous 18 months, service provision of day services had undergone major re-structuring. Two day hospitals had closed and staff re-configured into a variety of day services roles with different job descriptions and remits. A review of day services highlighted variations in service design and delivery. An example of this was the delivery of early memory intervention in one area and not in others. The day services review recommended working towards coherent delivery of core services across the county which was in line with the local commissioning framework and NICE guidance. The Lecturer Practitioner designed the course to address the issues raised in the day services review in a way which would be supportive to clinician staff and use practice development principles (McCormack, Manley and Garbett 2004). Geographically the service was spread over a wide area with clinicians having no opportunity for sharing good practice and networking. Reference McCormack B, Manley K, Garbett R. (Editors). 2004. Practice development in nursing. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

How did you implement the project

1. The course recruited 14 staff working in day services (90% of the current posts). Sessions were weekly for 10 weeks. 2. The course addressed the local and national policy drivers. Staff were given the opportunity to understand and map their own practice and service against the recovery process and the stepped care model. The course provided literature, research and evidence behind interventions which enabled staff to make links between their practice and theory. 3. The course evaluations were positive. Comments included: "I have more confidence in my work", "I understand the changes that are happening much better", "the course was a motivator", "it put theory to practice". 4. Two Action Learning Sets have been established. One will work towards the implementation of the bi-polar psychoeducation intervention (called 'Living with a Changeable Mood'). The other set will work towards the implementation of the early intervention for managing memory difficulties psycho-education program. All staff are attending one of the sets. In addition, two practice development days per year have been established which will continue to showcase new developments and interventions. 5. The Action Learning Set Process is being made explicit with the intention that staff will develop skills in participating and running Action Learning Sets. 6. Initiatives are being driven county wide. a. Early intervention memory management course. This was devised in the coastal region and is now active in Midhurst. The Chichester and Bognor area will use the action learning set to develop and start this in their area. b. The psycho-education program for bipolar was disseminated by one member and this intervention will be offered county wide by end 2009. c. Sharing of good practice enabled staff to see that interventions offered for depression had a recovery and well being focus

Key findings

Progress of the practice development will be monitored through the outcomes of the action learning sets and the practice development days. Service development outcomes will be the progress towards ensuring core interventions are available throughout the county. In addition, practice development outcomes for individual clinical staff will be demonstrated and monitored through the achievement of accreditation for practice development which is being offered through the University of Brighton.

Key learning points

1. Service development and practice development requires an educational and practice development infrastructure. 2. An educational process offers a supportive and empowering vehicle for service development which values staff and is inclusive of clinicians' experience. 3. Dissemination of good practice between colleagues acts to raise morale and enthusiasm for practice development 4. Educational programs may act as triggers to change, but practice development processes such as action learning sets are important to sustain the process of change and offer ongoing support to staff

Contact details

Wendy Harlow
NICE & SCIE Implementation Facilitator
Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Tertiary care
Is the example industry-sponsored in any way?