MSc Leadership for Health and Social Care Full & Part Time Starts September 2018

We are excited to announce that our revalidated MSc Leadership for Health and Social Care is to run from this coming September as a Full and Part Time programme.

It is aimed at people currently working and those interested in working in health and social care  leadership and management. As part of this new programme we offer a 6 month work placement as an optional final module giving new graduates practical work experience on a patient improvement project in a local NHS or Social Care organisation and for those currently working the chance of secondment within their own or partner organisations (dependent on organisational approval).

It builds on the programme we have run collaboratively with the University of Northampton for over 10 years and includes input and support from colleagues at the University of Northampton and from altstrat's own lecturer practitoners delivered at Corby Enterprise Centre through active blended learning. 

Please look at our brochure share with colleagues and contact us to discuss the programme, funding, the work placement or any questions you have about it.

MSc Leadership Brochure


Posted on May 1, 2018 .

Exciting new programmes

This year we have expanded the range of masters level programmes we deliver with the University of Northampton so that we now offer two Post Graduate Certificates as well as the MSc programme.A Post Graduate Certificate in Leadership for Health and Social Care, Post Graduate Certificate Transforming Patient Experience and the MSc Leadership for Health and Social Care. As part of the MSc programme we now offer an exciting Work Placement Opportunity as an option for the final large piece of work on the programme. This year we can now offer the MSc programme full and part time with a number of ways to finance modules including for those studying the full MSc government funding.

The Post Graduate Certificate Transforming Patient Experience was validated as a stand alone programme last year delivered for the first time to a group from the Leicestershire NHS Trusts. As the second cohort are coming to the end of the programme we are beginning to develop a profile of exciting long term project delivered by participants which include, really learning from serious incidents, making best use of patient feedback, implementing the DoH 'Red and Green Days' and improving patient education in cardiac inpatient wards.


Posted on July 24, 2017 .

5 Ways To Increase Your Productivity Through Kindness

The Harmful Effects of Workplace Incivility are now widely recognised  as the fast route to killing innovation, productivity and efficiency.

There are many reasons why #NHS organisation should make a change and ensure that there is compassion in the workplace...but how might we do this to create real and sustainable change?

black and white smile.jpeg
  1. Show others the way: Lead and behave how you would like others to behave. Do not tolerate anything less. If you see any form of incivility in the workplace, you simply convey that 'That's not how we do things here'. Set the standard.
  2. Do not rely on Human Resources: Human resources cannot deal with all forms of workplace incivility. For some, it may be hard to even describe to HR. HR are excellent for advice on the law, policy and process, but really, workplace compassion needs to come from the teams.
  3. Distribute responsibility: Ask your teams how they would like to behave towards each other...let them set their own rules and standards. In this way, everybody takes responsibility for the overall culture of an organisation, and rule breakers can no longer claim ignorance.
  4. Reduce workplace stress: Don't sweat the small stuff, communicate what you need from others in order to thrive, ask if you can help anyone else with their workload, make it OK to ask for help, ask others what they need from you in order to thrive.
  5. Celebrate small acts of kindness: courtesies, kindness and compassion in the workplace can see your excellence soar. Make a cuppa for the team? Say 'hello'? are you? develop your emotional intelligence so that you can spot any changes in behaviour...and recognise that these behaviours are often signs of distress which may need extra kindness and compassion. 

In taking time to embrace these activities, you too may see your teams thrive...innovation and productivity may also soar as you see your workforce drive to deliver more as a collective living community/family. Trust us...the best is yet to come.

Posted on January 13, 2017 .

5 Timeless Qualities of Great Leaders and Teams

There are many blogs and comments on how great leaders solve problems, innovate and create new ways for their team to thrive. But one thing we know is true, is that there are only really 5 qualities that any great leader or team needs to know. These are timeless, and we have never known them to vary far from the mark.

  1. Optimism: When everything becomes a self fulfilling prophecy, you cannot be in a negative state. Great leaders and teams look optimistically toward the future and actively seek out the opportunities in any unpleasant situation.
  2. Vision: Great leaders and teams see the big picture...the overall goal. They are not preoccupied with small tasks that may distract them from the path they are destined to follow. They don't sweat the small stuff...they stay on track, and make sure everyone else does too.
  3. Emotional intelligence: They lead and drive the team forward, knowing that they are all 'human'. They create a 'living community' in which everyone can thrive, innovate and contribute to the heart of the organisation. People are people - take care of those you work with.
  4. Openness and honesty: They consistently let everyone about what is happening. There are no 'dark corners' everyone knows everything all of the time - good or bad...keep everyone posted.
  5. Supportive: They ensure that everyone (including themselves) can thrive and reach their potential. This is talent management, but also, it involves self care, celebration, praise, mentoring and coaching for a better tomorrow. Put simply..we lift each other up rather than drag each other down.

Sounds easy right? So why do we not always see this in practice? Could you add to this list? Which qualities do you have? What do you need to work on?

Why not develop your leadership talents with us this year? Call us to find out more.

Posted on January 13, 2017 .

10 Tips On Becoming A Great NHS Mentor: Reflecting On #NationalMentoringDay

We really enjoyed #NationalMentoringDay. We heard some inspiring stories and some fantastic examples of mentorship within the NHS. We are also thankful for the wonderful feedback we received in relation to our own mentoring skills as NHS leadership coaches. As we reflect on #NationalMentoringDay, we would also like to share our learnings with the wider healthcare communities by offering these 10 top tips on becoming a great NHS mentor:

  1. Always be respectful and receptive to the individual needs of whoever you are mentoring at any given time. This requires some emotional intelligence as you learn to create personalised and individualised opportunities to learn.
  2. Lead by example. This is not an opportunity for 'do as I say and not as I do'. Be an inspiration. This is your opportunity to pass on the torch and leave your legacy. Who do you want the next generation of NHS staff to be? - Make it happen!
  3. Be human. Share your emotion. Working in the healthcare services is an emotive job. This is not the time to demonstrate the importance of service and sacrifice. You need to be communicating the importance of self care and self compassion.
  4. Challenge your pupil. This does not mean push them until they cry. You must encourage them to embrace their own abilities and give them the confidence to thrive.
  5. Ensure that you learn at the same time. We all learn from each other, from new experiences and new opportunities. Refresh your own enthusiasm for new things and allow yourself to grow alongside your student.
  6. Admit when you are wrong or you do not know something. Nobody is perfect and we all learn from failure. In fact, if we got everything right all of the time, there would be nothing to learn.
  7. Ask questions. Encourage a critical mind. Encourage your student to apply evidence to their practice appropriately. This will not only improve practice, but also encourage further reflection and personal growth.
  8. Be transparent. Don't hold anything back. If there are challenges or conflicts in the workplace, help your student to understand them and work with them rather than shielding them from the truth. They may even hold part of the solution.
  9. Don't be afraid to criticise (constructively). There has been much talk about how we often 'fail to fail' students. We all want welcome new students and staff into our teams. Sometimes this is not always possible or safe to do, yet when we offer constructive criticism, we give every student the chance to thrive.
  10. Teach! - It sounds obvious, but you will have a plethora of experience and knowledge to pass on. Walk the student through everything you teach. Take the time to do it calmly and constructively. Be patient and reflect on how this new knowledge is being absorbed and reproduced by the student. This may also be a refreshing experience for you as a mentor!

The best part of being a mentor is of course to see the students grow and flourish into productive and thriving members of the NHS team. When we invest in good mentorship, we are investing in the future of our workforce. We certainly enjoy mentoring all of our leadership all mentors within the NHS...we salute you!

Posted on November 12, 2016 .

5 Ways To Lead Your #NHS Team More Effectively

You may be a born leader, an aspiring leader, or a leader who mentors others. As you will know...being an effective leader means that you continue to learn and grow throughout your professional journey. Our post graduate MSc leadership students are developing into the NHS leaders of the future. Here are 5 ways to lead your NHS team more effectively.

  1. Recognise that everyone in your team is a leader with different strengths and weaknesses. Each member has something to bring to the collective goal. Let them know that you understand who each of them are and how they contribute.
  2. Create an environment of safety, where new ideas can be heard and listened to. This will breed a new culture where new ideas are explored an acted upon quickly and effectively for the good of the team's goal.
  3. Remain adaptive and flexible to the needs of your team. This will require emotional intelligence as you begin to recognise and establish who needs support and who has the right skills to meet the teams immediate challenges. Recognise that this is an iterative and ongoing process of evaluation. 
  4. Lead by example. Literally behave how you would like your team to behave towards each other and towards the teams goals. This will set the tone for the whole team, as they come to understand 'how we do things here'.
  5. Avoid being defensive. Assume that everyone is there because they want to do a good job. Nobody comes to work to mess up. Everyone should feel valued. Embrace the process of gratitude instead.

As our students go back to their teams after attending our leadership courses, they do so with new insights into how and why things may be failing. They are solutions focused and productive as they begin to see their own strengths and values.

We are incredibly proud of our students every day...and we are also proud to make a difference through mentoring and coaching the NHS leaders of the future.

Posted on November 12, 2016 .

How To Take On The Innovation Challenge

Within your own team or department within the NHS, you may be looking to develop something new, make something better, solve a wicked problem or take on a new challenge. All of these tasks to some degree or another will require you and your team to collaboratively innovate.

But before you embark on any new innovation challenge, how can you maximise your chances of success?

  1. Fully commit to the task. See it through and keep on going. Too many innovations fail because those who embark on the task do so halfheartedly. 

  2. Be prepared for failures along the way, and learn from each and every one.
  3. Take a co-production approach. Where others are invested and involved in designing the change you are trying to make, they are more likely to spread and embed the change.
  4. Give yourself and others the time to design. Allocate protected time for change. This not only assigns the task of innovation some value, but it also suggests to your team that you are taking this task seriously.
  5. Reward your self and others for successes. Reflect on how far you have come along the way.
  6. Evaluate, learn and continue to grow. 
  7. Innovation is an ongoing process, there is no start or end point. When you are evaluating, you are actually looking for new ways to learn, grown and develop even further. This is how change and improvement becomes embedded into NHS culture. We strive to thrive.
Posted on November 12, 2016 .

5 Ways To Identify A Colleague With Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is something that we believe every NHS leader needs to have. New research shows that this intelligence can be cultivated and grown ...and so we put forward 5 key ways to identify a colleague or co-worker who has emotional intelligence. When we can identify these traits in others... we can integrate these insights into our every day actions, transactions and leadership behaviours.

Why do we need emotional intelligence to lead in the NHS?

Some highly successful leaders within the NHS may not have achieved the highest grades in school … but they will have always understood what makes people tick and will have always known their own strengths and weaknesses. Many much brighter NHS leaders will not know how to get on with people....and this is where they will fail to achieve ultimate success and embed real and sustainable change.

Emotional intelligence is the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.

"emotional intelligence is the key to both personal and professional success"

How do we know when someone has emotional intelligence?

  1. They know their strengths and weaknesses and are willing to take every bit of criticism graciously in order to work on themselves.
  2. Whatever the situation, they leave others feeling optimistic and hopeful.
  3. They take a calm and considered approach to every situation rather than blowing up impulsively.
  4. They will always consider how others are feeling at any given time and will reflect upon how others may react to any new situation.
  5. They take responsibility for their mistakes and apologise
  6. When you as a leader can recognise these things in yourself, you will see yourself becoming a stronger and more effective team player. Your successes will thrive as you bring others around you up with you. These successes and behaviours are even more important within the NHS as challenging times persist.

We must all be kinder to each other. Our students are reflecting and developing as emotionally intelligent leaders every day... 

Posted on November 12, 2016 .

Some Highlights From NHS Expo 2016

This September we enjoyed another NHS Expo conferences and meeting with some inspiring leaders from every sector of the health and care services. This year was all about the digital. New innovations to support new ways of working. Our students are full of ideas, and so it was wonderful to be able to share new knowledge and ideas on a wider platform.

We were also keen to engage within the university pop-up sessions throughout the conference. One session in particular stood out for us, as colleagues from NHS England and Coventry University introduced us to a new initiative to support a new commissioning framework. This framework isl looking to create compassionate leadership cultures and compassionate health care organisations. We know that it will be important to create compassionate leaders for the future...we are working on this every day as our students work with us to create real change...We will be excited to see what happens!

We are also really looking forward to #FabChangeDay coming up ...our students will be sure to download the new app here and make their pledges!..not far away now (19th October 2016)

But the real highlight for us was that we heard some wonderful singing as we enjoyed a very moving rendition of “I will try to fix you”… By the @NHSChoir for the #KGAwards16 at #Expo16NHS. This was a fitting tribute to Kate Granger who sadly passed away recently... her legacy lives on through the Kate Granger awards for compassion and the #Hellomynameis campaign.

We look forward to another NHS Expo next year where we will be sharing new ideas and innovation with more great collaborators. Our students will be waiting to contribute their talents as well!...The best is yet to come!

Posted on September 26, 2016 .

5 Ways To Reduce Sickness Absences In The #NHS

The challenges within the NHS are forever growing. The financial pressures associated with sickness absence and agency pay out is spiraling due to a workforce which is striving to maintain a quality service during turbulent times.

It is time to take action, and we are always keen to learn from others and collaborate. Here we share 5 tips for NHS managers and leaders to embrace for a thriving NHS workforce. Our students are working right now in our health care services to promote excellence in care. Only a thriving NHS workforce will contribute towards achieving their goals.

These insights are derivations from Birmingham South Central CCG, who, by realising these tips have seen their sickness rates move down to 0.2% in comparison with 4.44% average within the NHS, their staff engagement, recruitment and retention levels are high and the way their organisation can now innovate is staggering.

With these tips, this is something all NHS organisations can achieve in partnership with strong leadership force and the dedication of our students in practice.

Read the full transformation journey -> How to get apples, not cactuses: an organisation fit for purpose: Meeting the well being needs of staff and community. By Cherry Dale.

  1. Share decision making. The direction of organisational travel affects everyone. Everyone needs to know what is going on, what the options are and where the next steps should lead the organisation as a whole. There should be no dark corners...everyone needs to know everything (Yes...everyone)!
  2. Ask the right questions. Who needs help? who has the capacity to help out? What do you need to help you thrive?
  3. No silo working. Select the right people to complete the right tasks. Assess what is needed to complete the task or solve the problem, and then match the right people to those needs. Areas of focus need to allow those with a variety of skill sets to weigh in on any situation so that new ideas can flow between those with certain responsibilities. 
  4. Don't call groups of people 'departments' - This creates silo working, instead they are 'natural working areas' that everyone can migrate to and from in order to suit the needs of any given situation. For extra impact - ban internal emails to get people communicating ideas.
  5. Notice when colleagues may be behaving differently in the workplace. These may be behavioral symptoms of a deeper disturbance that may be preventing them to thrive. If they are tearful or snappy...ask... "Is there anything you would like to talk about?" This emotional intelligence can promote compassion in the workplace and allow your organisational family to engage with the wider collective vision of an organisation.

When people feel engaged, valued and included within decision making and communications, they will want to become an active part of the organisational family. They will want to contribute, make a difference, innovate and confidently achieve their best. They will want to stay, feel unwell less often, and help others to do the same.

Our students take this vision into the health care workplace everyday. These future leaders are waiting to innovate and thrive. Join us.

Posted on September 3, 2016 .

Effective Organisational Communication: From Dire To Dazzling Dialogue

So we know that communication is the key to any organisational success. In health care specifically, poor communication can literally be fatal... so in these few steps... let us just reflect on how we can optimise our dialogues in health care organisations.

Be wary of sending chirpy emails which promote change before dissemination! As a well meaning leader, you may want to send out an enthusiastic 'send all' message to your organisation with a new great vision or idea that is going to change the scenery. This may be a great plan...but may unwittingly send out a panic signal where people then become uncertain of their will it affect them?....Can their managers reassure them when you have not made the details available?

What are you sending in your attachments? People will generally only skim read presentations and documents via email, and so when you assume you have 'covered all bases' may be woefully disappointed. So try not to hide behind technology and actively discuss the message you are trying to send.

Bring the best people in on the conversation. You know who your best people are...but have you ever put them together for a chat? Imagine what could happen if you did... Magic! The right people having the right conversations can pull together an organisations strengths and help create a culture of unity and shared vision.

Listen. You need to understand what people are thinking, feeling and doing. How are they responding to innovation and change? You need to gain their trust and commitment. How can you achieve this if you do not have your ear to the ground?

Thoughts feelings and opinions change fast during the active phases of change. Therefore your communication needs to start early, remain frequent and stay consistent. Using a 'ping back' approach, make everyone feel a part of the change, keep them informed and keep listening. This way, you can move smoothly towards a collaborative end goal without leaving any stragglers behind!

Remember dialogue has two components to it – Listening and Voicing. Keep the conversation going!

Posted on August 7, 2016 .

How To Innovate In Eight Simple Steps

We know that we want to innovate, grow and change...and some of us are naturally wired for this...others, not so much. If you are trying to innovate, can you really do this alone? If so, great! But we believe in collective visions of change

So how do we make the magic happen?

  1.  You hired the best people.....right? In healthcare, we know that staff join the caring professions to contribute and achieve great have you enabled them to shine?...First things first....put all of your best people in a room together to 'think' - Just add coffee!

  2. Hand over the tools! - So your staff know how your organisation works? Policies, protocols...who to talk to? Do they know who is in charge of what...and do they know how to take the first step?... Extra training in these areas can really empower confidence.

  3. Are you in the mix? Don't sit back and let others do the work...listen to the ideas buzzing around....get the conversation flowing...think of the possibilities and collaborate!

  4. Look around you. See what others are doing....If you see something working well outside of your organisation, perhaps you can steal the best bits for your own innovations....a 'cut and shut' idea can always grow into new 'best practice!'

  5. Open up time and space! - Permit allocated time to the development of new things... give 'permission' to those willing to take an idea forward to act...make this tangible...not an 'extra add on' to the role.

  6. Don't tame the radicals! If someone is sticking out like a sharp knife from the block...don't push them back in for the sake of it! Let them shine. These are the people who will usually champion the innovation and make change stick!

  7. Create the right 'mix'. Not everyone will have the same amount of time and inclination to innovate alone. However, a good leader will always source talent at every level. Once you can define these have many recipes for mix them up into new 'super teams'!

  8. Time to take action....when the innovation train gets going... we all need to be on board from the top to the bottom...every level needs to take a seat and fuel the innovation journey.

You, as a leader need to make sure that the train is ready to go at the station.... Are you up to the job of conductor?

All aboard!!!

Posted on August 7, 2016 .

Preparing For The Future @TheKingsFund Digital Health and Care Congress #kfdigital16

#NHS #digitalhealth #kfdigital16 - What does digital future look like?  

We went along to @TheKingsFund to engage with the Digital health and Care Congress to find out... 

This day was alive with those wanting to make real innovative change in health care through digital health and technology. Those who attended this conference were future thinkers...who were very able to look at the 'Big Picture'....We were among our own kind and looking to learn.

Having attended this conference, there is so much to share with our students as we guide them to be future leaders within the NHS... but for now we will share 5 key learnings from #kfdigital16 and let our students share the rest of the story in practice.

  1. Patients are generally willing to give their consent for digital data to be used as long as trust has been built in throughout this process.
  2. Patients want to book their appointments online just like they do their flights
  3. Digital interventions delivered via apps can be extremely beneficial and widely accepted by patients seeking mental health treatment.
  4. Child protection can be greatly improved by the development of networked systems that flag risks from service to service.
  5. When introducing digital technologies...what happens in practice is often very different from what clinicians anticipate will happen. We must always remain open minded...
  6. Lastly, we were introduced to the  Review of data security, consent and opt-outs and the recommendations that it makes for keeping health and care data secure, building trust, and ensuring that the public is informed about how their confidential information is used by Dame Fiona Caldicott.

 httSaaAShe s“Under new model of consent, people will have right to opt out of info being used for purposes beyond their direct care Fiona Caldicott speaking at #kfdigital16 digital health and care congress on data security in the NHS

Other Resources from the day:

Posted on July 25, 2016 .

10 Things That Effective #NHS Leaders Do

Health care staff prefer managers who participate, facilitate and are emotionally intelligent. These leadership styles are linked to team cohesion, lower stress, higher empowerment and self-efficacy. Effective #NHS leaders are flexible, collaborative, power sharing, and as use their personal values to promote high quality performance. 

But what is it that an effective leader does to make them 'effective'?

  1. Communicate calm in a crisis. The word resilience is often referred to as the 'magic pill' for dealing with stressful situations, but an effective leader will take their time to evaluate the situation, and convey calm control over the situation. This in turn instills confidence in those around them, and invites optimal outcomes to prevail.
  2. They exude a high energy and self confidence in all that they do. Their enthusiasm is tangible and contagious...this inspires others and makes sure that everyone is challenged to achieve.
  3. They allow things to develop. Rather than micro managing, they trust those around them to have more control over events than outside forces. This allows talent to blossom and new discoveries to thrive.
  4. They are emotionally intelligent and responsive. They recognize and act upon the emotional needs of those around them. They also remain aware of their own emotions, and are able to control irritability and anger in order to allow productivity to thrive.
  5. They show personal integrity as they adopt those behaviors that they expect to see in others. They show 'how things are done here'...they become an exemplary role model for others as they embrace life long learning.
  6. Strive to achieve. Although some achievements can be at the expense of others, an effective leader will ensure that they are achieving what is best for the organisation and for those around them. They aspire to achieve the greater good.
  7. Ego. The ego of an effective leader is one which permits to hear the views and opinions of others, whilst not overly worrying about what others think or feel about them as a person. Ego balance is key.
  8. An effective leaders makes sure that they have the skills required to do the job. IT skills, communication skills and practical skills must all ensure that the leader can do the job. When a leader finds deficiency in their own skill set - the life long learner status must endure and make things right.
  9. Priorities key tasks by clarifying, planning, monitoring operations, problem solving in advance of directing others to do the job.
  10. Empowers others by supporting, developing, recognizing, empowering others and sourcing talent at every level.

A effective leader advocates and envisions change via a process of collective learning. This encourages innovation throughout the organisation....and even attracts outside agencies to be led in the same direction!

We note and act upon the findings of the Kings Fund who state that "The key challenge facing all NHS organisations is to nurture cultures that ensure the delivery of continuously improving high quality, safe and compassionate care.
Leadership is the most influential factor in shaping organisational culture so ensuring the necessary leadership behaviors, strategies and qualities are developed is fundamental." 

Gilmartin, M. J., & D’Aunno, T. A. (2007). Leadership Research in Healthcare: A Review and Roadmap. The Academy of Management Annals, 1 (1), 387-438. 
West, M., Armit, K., Loewenthal, L., Eckert, R., West, T., and Lee, A. (2015) 'Leadership and Leadership Development in Healthcare: The Evidence Base'. London: The Kings Fund
West, M., Eckert, R., Steward, K., and Pasmore, B. (2014) 'Developing Collective Leadership for Healthcare'. London: The King’s Fund
Posted on July 6, 2016 .

10 Leadership Tips To Support A Productive Workforce

We cannot 'make' someone productive, this is something for the individual to achieve themselves. We can however, optimize their environment, learning development and skill sets to enable them to be the best they can be.

Leaders show the way, and highlight new opportunities in which to thrive. These 10 top tips will help you to maximize opportunities for you, your organisation ...and your workforce. In this way...your collective productivity will thrive!

  1. Rewards - Ensure that your workforce in rewarded appropriately for what they are achieving and contributing to the collective focus.
  2. Mentorship - Ensure that each member of staff is mentored and supported to thrive individually. Recognise the individual strengths of each team member, and encourage further developments in these areas.
  3. Challenges - Make sure that your team is challenged. Work cannot be 'easy' or 'beneath' them. You have employed the let them push the boundaries!
  4. Responsibility - Promote staff and allow them the power and responsibility to manage tasks. This will not only boost their confidence, but their skill sets and leadership skills will also develop.
  5. Connectivity - Allow staff to be involved in decision making and connect them with other agents of change to inspire them. This will not only boost their confidence and morale, but it will help them to think outside of the box and network with an inspiring community.
  6. Value - Make sure that you value your staff, and demonstrate this appreciation openly and honestly. If you don't value your team, take a look at re-evaluating your mentorship and appraisal skills. Everyone can add value in some way.
  7. Mission - Everyone needs a focus. A shared goal will not only unite your teams, it will also give them purpose. This purpose is what will drive them to become the best they can make it good!
  8. Trust - Once you empower your staff to take leaps and bounds in their career, you must also trust them to do the right thing. This means observing what they do well, and identifying where they could learn more. Don't micro manage! Stand back and admire...
  9. Permit mistakes - If everything went right at all times, we would learn nothing. Mistakes offer us all a chance to learn and become more productive as a result. Naming, blaming and shaming has no place in a healthy workplace.
  10. Accountability - Although blame cultures remain unhealthy, we must all take accountability for our actions and/or omissions. This means that we can learn and grow as a result of our mistakes. When we talk openly about why something happened....we analyse....we grow and we thrive.

We refer to these tips every day as we work with heath providers and students wanting to thrive. Our postgraduate courses ensure that future leaders return to their workplaces and are able to increase productivity for all. This is just one of our goals...we look for new opportunities every day.


Posted on July 6, 2016 .

The 4th International Wellbeing at Work Conference in Amsterdam 2016

So, as our staff, students and collaborators know, we here at altstrat are dedicated to making sure that we all prioritise well being at work. To us, this means looking after ourselves and each other.

However, there is always room to learn and do better.....So last week we traveled to Amsterdam and enjoyed the 4th International Wellbeing at Work conference hosted by VU UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTRE AND TNO.

After 3 enthralling days listening to those passionate about work and well being, we came away realizing that the prevention of burnout and the promotion of healthy workplaces is definitely more than just a basket of fruit!

For workplace wellbeing to thrive, we must set the organisational cultures required to make health at work the 'norm'....We applied this learning to the healthcare workplace...then we saw a new perspective on workplace cultures.

Health care staff put the patients first....yet this in turn may devalue the staff member. Working in partnership with patients means that we must take care of ourselves as well as our patients... Patients do not want to have a grumpy and tired clinician on shift....They want you to stay hydrated, fed, comfortable and psychologically ready to do the task at hand. 

The cultures required to make this happen must adopt leading indicators for change.

Tracking and recording leading indicators is most useful to management when it tells the whole story of processes from start (or sometimes preparations to start) to finish. This makes it easier to gauge employees’ commitment to workplace safety and where to start from a training and communication perspective. Below is a short list of priority indicators to track.

  1. The more observations that employees and managers report, the more robust the data. One to two observations per employee on a weekly basis is excellent. This should not be considered a “tattle-tale” exercise, but a way to offer suggestions for improvement, recognition of underlying issues and maintenance needs as well as near misses.
  2. Employee engagement is critical for number 1 to work correctly. If all levels of the organisation are paying attention to these things and talking about safety, a true safety culture will permeate throughout the organisation. Best in class companies aim for 80 percent participation. This can ensure that many different aspects of your company’s processes are being evaluated and reported on.
  3. How long does it take the organisation to act on observed deficiencies? Most corrections will be achievable very quickly. However, having more than 20 percent of these issues taking more than 48 hours to correct can mean that your company and management staff is not very effective at managing risk, which is a leading indicator in itself.

(Todd Hohn, Workplace magazine)

This really was one of the best conferences we have been to! ...and it really did practice what it preached! - Massages and health cafes were available throughout the conference with healthy food and drink on tap!...There were active areas of seating so that any sedentary behaviour was very short lived!

The most important thing to do now is bring this learning and healthy workplace cultures back to our own workplaces. We will certainly be putting out more than a fruit basket ...we will be actively engaging with a healthy workplace programme for our students, colleagues and collaborators.

We will of course also share these learnings with the healthcare organisations that work with us to achieve optimal outcomes, consistently.



Posted on June 20, 2016 .

5 Top Tips for enabling Culture Change

Lately, we  have been hearing many people talk about changing cultures. But really, what is an organisational or 'corporate' culture? and how do we influence this?

We like this description of a corporate culture:

Now here are our 5 top tips for enabling culture change:

1. Realise that culture change does not happen overnight. Initially, you will need to work within your current organisational cultures to start the wheels turning. It is important at this point to carefully direct your attention to the windows of opportunities that present before real change can happen.

2. Set objectives - Let these be visionary. Once you have your change objectives in place, make sure your behaviors link to these. Once those around you see how you are 'setting precedent' they will emulate your behaviors over time, and therefore, your goals.

3. Scope out you key leaders of change. Who are the early adopters? Who is already on board with you? - These are the people you will need to deploy throughout your organisation for lasting change.

4. Once you see any small changes within your organisational culture, ensure that it is celebrated widely! - This will set the scene for further praise and change in the right direction.

5. Demonstrate that your changes are making a difference to the things that matter. Evidence this. Assess the culture continually to make sure everyone knows that the organisation is on track.

Once you set the tone and direction of these culture changes - these 5 steps can be repeated over and over to keep momentum going. If new changes are again required, we go back to the beginning and set our objectives to slowly change direction ...Change does not happen overnight. But it comes from you.

Our students set the cultures within their own organisations to be compassionate, healthy and productive. What will your objectives be?

Posted on May 24, 2016 .

Reflecting On Mental Health Awareness Week 2016 #MHAW16

This mental health awareness week, we got our #HeadsTogether and started the conversation with both our students and partners about our mental health in the workplace.

We were also sharing the new guidance from the Royal College of Midwives on work-related stress, which cites that:

“Ethically, midwives are entitled to a psychologically safe professional journey… when maternity services invest in the mental health and well being of midwives they may reap the rewards of improved patient care, improved staff experience and safer maternity services."

We know that when staff are psychologically safe, they provide better care for patients and increase the quality of the health care services. Having these conversations is vital in the health care workplace so that we can ensure that services and healthcare organisations remain compassionate and alert to the needs of staff.

Some of our students shared some great initiatives and began some important conversations around mental health in the workplace. Having great working relationships is integral to our mental health at work. Rethink Mental Illness. highlights this by saying:

“Having people in your life who are understanding and supportive, be they a full-time carer or just someone to share a cup of tea and a chat with, can make a big difference,”

Peer support groups are also a vital tool for many people. We encourage our staff and students to forge strong, compassionate and lasting peer group relationships, both within their study time, and within their places of work in health care. 

As our students learn, they bring a new found wisdom to the workplace. We are seeing real change in health care teams as a result. When we invest in the well being of our staff - we are certainly reaping the rewards!

Posted on May 24, 2016 .

Reflecting on #InternationalNursesDay & #IDM2016

So, this week is always a busy week for our nursing and midwifery students. We always enjoy seeing them grow into leaders and create new opportunities for our health services to thrive.

We were also keen to celebrate #InternationalNursesDay and International Day of the #Midwife, better known on Twitter as #IDM2016 and #IND16.

How did we celebrate?

We went right back to this @theRCN video to see why Nurses do what they do . Nurses show dedication in everything they do. They come into our healthcare services to achieve an become something special. We see our students contribute to the health services in this way... every day!

We will be joining the @theRCN for a special #NursesDay Twitter chat this Thursday 12th May 2016 to #thankanurse this #NursesWeek. We hope you will join us!

International Day of the Midwife was hosted by @world_midwives on the 5th of May 2016.

The @WeMidwives community celebrated the fact that “Kindness to others & yourself -does improve workplace health” – They asked that midwives share how they cared for themselves and one another as midwives.

In line with this theme, the Royal College of Midwives (@MidwivesRCM) launched their new guidance on ‘Work-Related Stress’ for heads of midwifery and individual midwives themselves.

This guidance cites and references one of our alumni students as follows:

“Ethically, midwives are entitled to a psychologically safe professional journey… when maternity services invest in the mental health and well being of midwives they may reap the rewards of improved patient care, improved staff experience and safer maternity services.”

In addition to this, #SafeDay saw made their theme “Workplace Stress: a collective challenge” free to read! Everyone is getting involved. In addition to this, #SafeDay saw @OxfordJournals making their theme “Workplace Stress: a collective challenge” free to read! 

We very much enjoyed The Virtual International Day of the Midwife conference hosted by  #vidm16 A great 24 hour conference for #IDM2016. We also enjoyed some muffins for midwives in support of the charity Maternity Worldwide ‏@maternityww.

All in all, we have really enjoyed celebrating our nursing and midwifery students and the great work they do in helping our healthcare services thrive as they become emerging leaders of the future.

We are privileged to work with such amazing new talent and such driven post graduate nurses and midwives. We look forward to celebrating new successes with our students on the horizon.

Posted on May 14, 2016 .

Supporting Health Care Organisations To Be Compassionate

Improving the staff experience in healthcare services improves productivity and the patient experience. We have a strong reputation in showing compassion towards our students as we invest in their professional development, clinical and leadership skills.

We also encourage organisations and the people we work with to demonstrate compassion towards their healthcare staff...which explicitly acts to show compassion in the workplace?

From the 21st of April until the 21st of May, one of our alumni students, @SallyPezaro, now based at Coventry University is working with NHS England to understand the characteristics of compassionate healthcare organisations. This new work-stream will underpin future developments by NHS England to support NHS commissioners and providers to be ‘compassionate organisations’. As such, we were keen to get involved.

As health care staff, what do you think a ‘compassionate healthcare organisation’ looks like?

This new research project aims to find out and explore this very thing, and we are encouraging our students and colleagues to share their thoughts for this research campaign via Twitter.

It’s easy to take part. You just need to tweet your views about what activities, actions, policies, philosophies and approaches demonstrate that a healthcare organisation is compassionate using the hashtag #ShowsWorkplaceCompassion.

These tweets will then be archived and analysed by the research team. Findings will then be shared with the healthcare, academic, commissioning and other communities in order to inform the development of compassionate healthcare organisations for the benefit of both staff and patients.

Example tweets might be:

‘Letting me take my lunch break #ShowsWorkplaceCompassion’

‘Finishing the meeting on time #ShowsWorkplaceCompassion’

‘Respecting my work/life balance #ShowsWorkplaceCompassion’

You can follow the research account on Twitter: @NHSStaffExp 

You can also visit Fab NHS Stuff who are backing this project.

Full project details here ->

We are excited to see the results of this project, so that we may learn and share what #ShowsWorkplaceCompassion for the benefit of our students, colleagues, partnership organisations and the wider health care community. Being compassionate will always be one of the key drivers for improvements in health care. Its time to turn rhetoric into reality.



Posted on April 25, 2016 .