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Not just about patients: the trust where nursing staff use team huddles to talk about their mood

Kent Community Health Trust encourages staff to talk openly about how they are feeling

Kent Community Health Trust encourages staff to talk openly about how they are feeling


Kent Community trust colleagues associate practitioner Katie Martinez, healthcare assistant
Jane Keating and staff nurse Louise Taylor

Whiteboard 'emojis' are being used by hospital teams to help colleagues express their feelings.

Nurses and other staff at Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust hospitals use regular staff meetings to not only to discuss patient issues, but to talk about how they are feeling that day too.

Team meetings can be a gateway to seeking support

Ward staff select magnets with smiling, frowning or neutral pictures and post them on the staff board to sum up their mood. 

'This says to staff that it’s okay not to be okay’

Alison Read, matron, Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust

Staff can then discuss their feelings, either with the team as a whole, or in private.

Support can then be offered by occupational health or counselling services, or via a clinical lead if the concern is a clinical issue.

Staff may be signposted to external mental health support or legal assistance as appropriate.

Validation for staff who have worries or concerns

Matron Alison Read said it was important staff felt they could speak about their feelings.

‘It’s saying to staff that it’s okay not to be okay,’ she said. ‘It’s a chance to talk about what is working well and what is not, so we can change the way we do things, if we need to.’

'Good multidisciplinary working'

One nurse glad to have the huddle check is trust newcomer staff nurse Olivia Tengende, who joined the team in November last year.

‘As a new member of staff it helps me, as I get to meet and talk with everyone in the team, including the therapists,’ she said.

‘We all come together to say how we feel and to give our opinions and it’s good multidisciplinary working.’

The initiative started 16 months ago at one of the trust’s hospitals before being introduced at four of its community hospitals in east Kent.


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