Recite Me

Introducing John Webster, NCH&C’s new Deputy Chief Executive

Introducing John Webster, NCH&C’s new Deputy Chief Executive

Following the departure of Paul Cracknell, NCH&C is pleased to introduce John Webster as its new Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Strategy & Transformation.

John joins us from the Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group, where he was Director of Strategic Commissioning. John is with us on a twelve-month secondment.

John has a wealth of experience in the NHS (in commissioning and provider organisations) and the Department of Health. Before the merger of the five Norfolk and Waveney CCGs in April last year, John was Accountable Officer for NHS West Norfolk CCG. Prior to this he was Deputy Accountable Officer at Luton CCG and Director of Commissioning at East and North Hertfordshire CCG.

“I am delighted to have joined NCH&C as interim Director of Strategy and Transformation and Deputy CEO. I am very much looking forward to developing our strategy, as well as working with staff and stakeholders to continue to deliver improvements to the services we provide to patients. I will also be sponsoring the Ways of Working during COVID-19 project. I’m really keen, as restrictions are eased, to visit as many of our teams as I can and to find out about your roles in community health and care. I’ll be working between St James’ in Kings Lynn and Woodlands House at Norwich Community Hospital, so do come say hello if you see me around.”

Observing Ramadan in 2021

Observing Ramadan in 2021

The holy month of Ramadan, observed by Muslims around the globe, will start on or around the evening of Monday 12 April and end on the evening of Wednesday 12 May. The exact dates of Ramadan depend on the sighting of the new moon, and so change every year.

Throughout Ramadan, Muslims fast during the daylight hours, abstaining from food and water. The fast is broken with an evening meal, called Iftar. The end of Ramadan is marked by the festival of Eid-al-Fitr, also called the “Festival of Breaking the Fast”.

Ramadan is an important spiritual festival in Islam, representing a period of self-reflection: enduring its privations is intended to build one’s patience and compassion, break bad habits, and help one feel closer to God.

Since fasting can put additional pressure on the body, some groups are exempt: children, the elderly, people experiencing an illness, and expectant or breastfeeding mothers. The British Islamic Medical Association has advised that patients experiencing the symptoms of COVID-19 or Post-COVID Syndrome should abstain from fasting and seek medical advice.

 

Celebrating Ramadan safely

Just like last year, Ramadan in 2021 unfortunately falls during the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in the UK.

While some places of worship are open, many are operating with reduced capacity and/or requiring worshippers to book before attending. If you decide to attend mosque during Ramadan, you must avoid mixing with others outside your household. You may be required to bring your own prayer mat and face covering: check with your local mosque. Some mosques are live streaming services so that Muslims may observe their Ramadan worship from the safety of their own home.

From 29 March, it is allowed for a group of up to six people, or two households, to meet up outside. This means that a small group of people may get together to break their fast in a garden. However, you should choose individual, pre-portioned dishes rather than buffet-style meals to minimise the risk of COVID-19 exposure.

If you are offered your COVID-19 vaccination during Ramadan, there is no need to decline the appointment. The British Islamic Medical Association has stated that receiving the vaccination does not ‘break one’s fast’ since it is administered by injection, and so can be received during Ramadan. If you experience any side effects following your vaccination, you should take paracetamol and stay hydrated outside of your fast.

 

Working during Ramadan

For those who must work during Ramadan, the physical effects of fasting can be challenging. Towards the end of the day, when Muslim employees have not had food or water since dawn, their concentration and productivity is likely to be lower than normal. Line managers have a duty to take care of all employees’ health and safety. They should ideally be discussing with those observing Ramadan how best to support them and if necessary, making reasonable adjustments to working patterns and responsibilities.

If you are a Muslim employee observing Ramadan, it is sensible to discuss this with your line manager. Keeping them informed means they can help you balance your workday, and provide provisions for you to pray at work. If you wish to request annual leave during Ramadan, ensure to do this early to minimise disruption to the rest of your team.

Accommodating religious belief and practices during Ramadan is about being responsive to employees’ needs. It does not necessarily mean extra time off, it is about offering flexibility around existing holiday entitlement, working patterns or break periods. Unlike previous years, this may prove more challenging if resources are reduced due to staff absence from self-isolation and illness.

 

Learn more

The following resources offer more information about celebrating Ramadan in 2021 and supporting Muslim colleagues who are observing Ramadan.

COVID-19 and Ramadan
Developed by the NHS Muslim Network and the British Islamic Medical Association

Factsheet on Ramadan Health
Developed by the British Islamic Medical Association and the Muslim Council of Britain

Ramadan 2021
Developed by NHS Employers

Workplace considerations during Ramadan
Developed by NHS England

Keeping patients with diabetes healthy during Ramadan
Developed by NHS England

Practicing self-care at work

Practicing self-care at work

By degrees, life is slowly returning to normal, but we’re not out the other side of the pandemic yet. If we are to keep going through the next few months, we need to make sure we are prioritising our mental health and and wellbeing.

Since April is Stress Awareness Month, we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to consider our wellbeing at work, and how we can practice self-care as part of our everyday activities.

This article originally appeared in full in the Spring 2021 edition of Your Community magazine

 

How are you, really? 

A balanced sense of wellbeing can help us be more resilient, and better able to handle whatever life throws at us. Self-care is our first line of defence against mental and physical health problems, not something we should start doing when we find ourselves struggling.

Leanne Williamson, one of NCH&C’s Mental Health First Aiders, explains why looking after our wellbeing is especially important right now:

“As health care workers, if we are not well ourselves, it may be more difficult for us to care for our patients. Caring for our mental health is just as important as our physical health.

“Many staff understandably feel fatigued right now. They may feel like self-care is a luxury that they don’t have the time or energy for. But, ensuring that we stay mentally well will help us cope with challenging situations, and provide the best service to the trust and it’s patients.”

 

What self-care looks like

There’s no right or wrong way to do self-care: it is simply any activity that helps you cultivate a sense of wellbeing. Whether it’s a hot shower when you get home, a jog around the block, or a tasty and nutritious snack for you to enjoy on your break, self-care is about the little things you do to make yourself feel looked after.

There are also many self-care activities you can do at work. As well as making your day-to-day life more enjoyable, they can also improve your performance, and long-term career satisfaction.

 

Be kind to yourself

Try to avoid reading the news if it makes you feel distressed. As long as you stay up-to-date on all your comms from the trust, you’ll be informed of any important national or local updates.

Stick to a regular routine that incorporates rest, nutritious food and gentle exercise. We are all worthy of happiness, so make time for activities you enjoy, too. Don’t beat yourself up if your routine slips or you don’t have the energy for self-care activities. Forgive yourself and try again tomorrow.

Remember to extend the same kindness to those around you, too. We’re going through this together, and you never know how others may be feeling.

 

Reach out

Many of us aren’t used to talking about how we’re feeling, but there’s nothing to feel embarrassed about. Sharing how you’re feeling with other people is the first step in seeking help.

Working from home can make us feel more isolated. Leanne encourages home workers to make use of Microsoft Teams to stay in touch, “even if it’s just a five-minute chat while you’re brewing a cup of tea!”

Struggling with our mental wellbeing can impact how we perform at our job, so it is entirely appropriate to discuss how you’re feeling with your line manager. Completing a Wellness Action Plan in advance (available on the staff Intranet) is a good way to structure these discussions. You can also chat to one of NCH&C’s Mental Health First Aiders. Their details are available on the Intranet.

At times, we may be able to spot a colleague struggling with their own wellbeing. When appropriate, Leanne recommends asking them how they’re doing: “This may give them an opportunity to talk if they are struggling.” If you don’t feel comfortable with this, you could seek advice from your manager in confidence, or ask a Mental Health First Aider for advice on how to broach this.

 

Rest

Staying well-rested is vital. Leanne agrees: “It’s essential that you take your breaks, as these will help you provide better care to your patients.”

Our time away from work helps us to recharge, so it’s important we don’t carry stresses from the day home with us. This is especially important for homeworkers, as there is less distinction between worktime and personal life. At the end of your working day, consider three things that went well and let go the things that didn’t go well. Check in with your colleagues and ask for help if you’re struggling.

Getting enough high-quality sleep also helps keep our wellbeing on an even keel. Make time to wind down before going to bed, perhaps with a warm bath, and try to take a break from screens at least an hour before bed.

 

The trust is always committed to supporting the wellbeing of its staff. If you feel like you’re struggling, please reach out to someone you trust, and/or make use of the staff wellbeing resources provided by NCH&C.

Your Community #2

Your Community #2

Click below to read the Spring 2021 edition of Your Community staff magazine.

Your Community #2 – NCH&C Staff Magazine

April is Stress Awareness Month

April is Stress Awareness Month

All of us deal with a certain level of day-to-day stress. When that stress becomes too hard to manage, causing harm to our physical and mental wellbeing, that’s when it becomes a big problem. There may be early warning signs of excessive demands and challenges, but often stress will creep up on us. We want to support staff who may be suffering due to increased levels of stress and provide resources to help combat the negative effects.

April is Stress Awareness month and we want to use this opportunity to increase awareness about both the causes and cures for our modern stress epidemic. Individually we need to understand what is causing us personal stress and learn what steps we can take to reduce it for ourselves and those around us.

What is stress?

It’s important to remember that stress is not necessarily a ‘bad’ thing. Without the onset of stress alerting us to potential danger, our ancestors would have not been able to survive. Stress is primarily a physical response. When stressed, the body thinks it is under attack and switches to ‘fight or flight’ mode, it enables us to focus our attention so we can quickly respond to the situation. The challenge is when our body goes into a state of stress in inappropriate situations. This can lead to an inability to ‘think straight’; a state that is a great hindrance in both our work and home lives. If we are kept in a state of stress for long periods, it can be detrimental to our health.

The Stress Management Society use the bridge analogy to approach the topic of stress. When a bridge is carrying too much weight, it will eventually collapse.

A ‘bridge collapse’ in a person could take many forms:

  • Mental and emotional breakdown
  • Serious health issues (such as rise in blood pressure or heart disease)
  • Taking one’s own life

However, it is possible to see the warning signs before this happens. The bridge would buckle and creak. If we can recognise when we have too much demand on our bridge then we can take action to prevent ourselves from getting anywhere near the bridge collapsing.

What can you do to address stress?

The NHS website suggests 10 ways to reduce your stress:

  1. Be active – exercise won’t make your stress disappear, but it can reduce the emotional intensity that you might be feeling. Read how being active helps mental wellbeing.
  2. Take control – The act of taking control is in itself empowering, and it’s a crucial part of finding a solution that satisfies you and not someone else. Get tips on how to manage your time.
  3. Connect with people – A good support network of colleagues, friends and family can ease your work troubles and help you see things in a different way.
  4. Have some ‘me time’ – work and personal commitments often mean we don’t spend enough time doing things we really enjoy. Try to set aside a couple of nights a week for some quality ‘me’ time.
  5. Challenge yourself – setting yourself goals and challenges, whether at work or outside, helps to build confidence. This will help you deal with stress.
  6. Avoid unhealthy habits – don’t rely on alcohol, smoking and caffeine as your ways of coping. This will not solve your problems in the long term, it is more likely that it will create new ones.
  7. Help other people – evidence shows that people who help others, through activities such as volunteering or community work, become more resilient.
  8. Work smarter, not harder – prioritise your work and concentrate on the tasks that will make a real difference.
  9. Try to be positive – look for the positives in life. Try writing down three things that went well, or for which you are grateful, at the end of each day.
  10. Accept the things you can’t change – Changing a difficult situation isn’t always possible. Try to concentrate on the things you do have control over.

Do you need support?

NCH&C is committed to the health and wellbeing of our staff. If you feel like stress is impacting your life, don’t forget there is always someone who can help. Please utilise the following resources, before your bridge collapses:

  • NHS People

If you need immediate support, please visit the support now pages on NHS People. Free and accessible on any device.

  • Norfolk and Suffolk Staff support line 

This free and confidential service is run in partnership between the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) and Suffolk Mind. NHS staff can call 0300 123 1335, 09.30-16.30 Monday-Friday or email staffsupport@nsft.nhs.uk

  • How are you, really? Resources

Download our resource pack for managers to support staff.

  • Mental health support

Visit Mind or the Mental Health Foundation website for information and resources relating to your mental wellbeing.

Introducing NCH&C’s first Wellbeing Guardian…

Introducing NCH&C’s first Wellbeing Guardian…

Norfolk Community Health & Care is pleased to announce the appointment of its first Wellbeing Guardian.

Graham Nice, who also serves on NCH&C’s board as a Non-Executive Director, will now act as an advocate for health and wellbeing in the trust at board level. This involves challenging executive decision-making to ensure wellbeing is at its heart and connecting with staff across the trust.

Find out more about Graham and his role as the trust’s new Wellbeing Guardian in the short video below…

Wellbeing Guardians are being introduced across the whole NHS as part of its ongoing People Plan. This strategy covers plans for inclusivity and belonging within the NHS, looking after our people, and delivering new ways of looking after people. Find out more about how NCH&C is supporting the Wellbeing of its staff here.

NCH&C featured in Nursing Standard article on menopause in the workplace

NCH&C featured in Nursing Standard article on menopause in the workplace

Although menopause is a natural experience as a woman’s oestrogen levels decline with age, it can create unpleasant symptoms that affect quality of life.

Representatives from NCH&C recently took part in an NHS Employers webinar to discuss how NHS trusts can support members of staff experiencing the menopause. Nursing Standard published this article about the webinar and what NHS trusts are doing to support menopausal employees.

Just like any other health condition, experiencing the menopause may interfere with an employee’s work. The Nursing Standard article explains what NCH&C does to support staff going through the menopause, including menopause guidance and a staff facilities map showing the locations of amenities such as showers, toilets and restrooms across the trust area. The trust also sought feedback from staff to learn more about their experiences of menopause, and the support they wanted.

NCH&C’s health and wellbeing initiative to support staff going through the menopause were developed in partnership with UNISON Norfolk Community Health.

The symptoms of menopause include hot flushes, difficulty sleeping, mood changes, problems with memory and concentration, headaches, muscle weakness, and general aches and pains. These physical symptoms can also affect the sufferer’s mental health and self-esteem. The menopause usually happens to women between the ages of 45 and 55. Trans men may also experience the menopause.

Even though menopause is a natural part of life for most women, many may feel uncomfortable discussing menopause-related issues with their manager. This could result in staff ‘suffering in silence’, feeling unable to attend medical appointments or adjust their working environment or pattern to suit their health needs.

Managing the menopause at work may be especially difficult for those in roles such as nursing, which can be quite physically demanding.

There is plenty of evidence that shows that menopause symptoms can impact employee’s attendance and performance at work. With menopausal women the fastest-growing demographic in the workplace, this makes menopause and organisational issue, not just a women’s health issue.

World Sleep Day 2021

World Sleep Day 2021

Most of us have experienced the fatigue, short temper and lack of focus that often follow a poor night’s sleep. An occasional night without sleep can make you feel tired and irritable the next day, but it’s unlikely to harm your health. If you’re experiencing continual sleepless nights however, the mental effects become more serious.

Today is World Sleep Day, which aims to consider and aid those who have sleep problems. It is useful for educating people about the importance of sleep, as well as changing the way people view and experience sleep by giving them valuable resources to help them in their daily lives.

World Sleep Society recommends the following 10 steps to achieve healthy sleep

  • Fix a bedtime and an awakening time.
  • If you are in the habit of taking a nap, do not exceed 45-minutes of daytime sleep.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol ingestion 4-hours before bedtime and do not smoke.
  • Avoid caffeine 6-hours before bedtime. This includes coffee, tea and many sodas, as well as chocolate.
  • Avoid heavy, spicy, or sugary foods 4-hours before bedtime. A light snack before bed is acceptable.
  • Exercise regularly, but not right before bed.
  • Use comfortable bedding.
  • Find a comfortable temperature setting for sleeping and keep the room well ventilated.
  • Block out all distracting noise and eliminate as much light as possible.
  • Reserve the bed for sleep and sex. Don’t use the bed as an office, workroom or recreation room.

Helpful resources:

  • OneYou website – which has lots of useful information and resources, including a personal Mind Plan to help you help you deal with stress and anxiety, improve your sleep, boost your mood and feel more in control.
  • Improving your sleep – online webinar – join this evidence based workshop, run by the Norfolk and Waveney Wellbeing Service, that can help you to understand and manage your sleep better.
  • Sleepio – a wellbeing app, which is a clinically evidenced sleep improvement programme that is fully automated and highly personalised, using cognitive behavioural techniques to help improve poor sleep. Big Health is offering one year of free access to Sleepio for all NHS staff until 31 March 2021.  All accounts will be live for one year from the point of registration (for example colleagues who sign up in March 2021 will have free access until March 2022).
  • Headspace – a mindfulness and mediation app, providing resources to help reduce stress, build resilience and aid better sleep

Opportunities for nurses

Nursing opportunities at NCH&C

Here are some of the roles we have for nurses currently, but do regularly check our vacancies if you have other locations in mind to progress your career in community nursing:

We pride ourselves on being a great place to work that values its staff. What’s it like to work at NCH&C? Find out more here.

 

Our Norfolk

Our Norfolk: appreciating our county during COVID-19

With COVID-19 restrictions limiting what we can do inside, we have been able to appreciate our local outdoors more than ever.

Our staff have been taking the time to enjoy our local community and have captured their favourite beauty spots in a collection of photos taken during the pandemic.

Click here to view the pictures.