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Welcome to your latest Sign up to Safety newsletter

9th May 2018
Dear <<First Name>>

What are great questions? How can you start a conversation that encourages someone to open up and share what they know about working safely? How do you make space for people to tell you how they feel today?

What else can we ask ourselves and others to find out more about what it means to apply Safety II? How is Learning from Excellence making a difference where you work? What does Just Culture mean in your context?

These are the kinds of questions that could drive us towards a stronger safety culture. Asking them and listening to what others respond with really makes a difference. This week we’ve got some great advice on asking the right questions, in a tone that makes people feel valued and reassured that you’re really listening.

Coming up:

Something to think about...
Did you know that a strategic approach to your communications could be really helpful for your safety and improvement work? Find out more about the #QiComms Charter 
A bit of help to ask the right questions

When it comes to providing safer care, the questions we choose or choose not to ask can make the world of difference.

Questions are a great way to help people speak up, to help them feel listened to, to be heard and understood.

It sounds so simple, but it can be tricky to do it well when you’re stressed and busy - and the tone and civility matters. Here's some inspiration from the IHI. Their Joy at Work booklet includes lots to help, such as questions that can help start a conversation.
Three questions to get you started

We asked those of you who took part in National Kitchen Table Week to consider three questions in your conversations - but these are really interesting and fruitful conversations starters that you can use now and in the future, not just for that week in March. The questions were:
  • How can everyone across the NHS implement ‘safety II’? i.e. a way of looking at what works as well as what doesn’t.
  • How can we instil ‘joy at work’ by building on the initiatives such as ‘learning from excellence’, #kind2018 and saying thank you to the people you work with?
  • How can we keep building this way of developing relationships and having conversations so that they become part of the everyday fabric of the NHS?
Appreciative conversations around Kitchen Tables

So we asked you to consider the questions above during National Kitchen Table Week but of course the conversations spread much wider than these.

One of our members, Caroline Maries-Tillott, used her appreciative inquiry training when planning the types of questions she was going to ask at her Kitchen Table, thinking about what she would like to be asked and the tone that those questions should have.

She was so amazed by the responses she has written a blog for us about the experience and the questions she asked, to help others ask the questions that matter to them.     

Read Caroline’s Blog

You can also read this earlier blog from Suzanne Quinney from Appreciating People, who’s training inspired Caroline in shaping her questions. This blog offers examples for re-framing conversation starters from the negative to the positive too.
Talking about talking

From worrying that you won’t be heard to lacking the confidence to speak up, feeling like it’s not your place to say, to simply not having time to stop and ask “why?” – there are many reasons you, your colleagues, and patients alike might choose to stay quiet. But when it comes to helping people work safely, questions can make a world of difference.

When we were filming our Just Ask Me Video a year or so ago we asked our lovely volunteers about the questions they would like to be asked at work and why. 

We put some of their responses into a blog and it’s a great place to start when thinking about the questions you could be asking and how.

Read Talking About Talking
Introducing the #QiComms charter

A great question to ask yourself is what can I learn from other people and other disciplines that could help me and others work safely?  That’s one of the wonderful things about asking questions; it helps you connect more deeply with others and be open minded - which could help you learn many skills that help you achieve your objectives.

Recently we've been working in partnership with an international group of communication specialist to develop the 'QIComms Charter'.
The Charter’s seven principles have been developed to convey the often-overlooked impact the use of strategic communications can make to the success of safety and improvement work.

Launched at this year’s International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare in Amsterdam last week, the seven principles are:

1. We will use #QiComms to accelerate our improvement work for the benefit of patients and everyone we serve.
2. We will plan our #QiComms from the start.
3. We will give #QiComms support at the highest level.
4. We will take a strategic approach to #QiComms.
5. We will make out #QiComms evidence-based.
6. We will continuously improve our #QiComms.
7. We will put people at the centre of our #QiComms work.

We think there is a lot you could gain from reading these principals and exploring what they mean for you and your work. Read more on what #QIComms is and sign the Charter to show your support here.

To share more on our own thoughts, our Communications & Engagement Lead Cat has written about why we recommend you sign and explores the seventh principal in more detail.

Others from around the world are exploring the other principals from their perspective so we'll share their blogs over the coming weeks. To get us started though, here is Frits Bredal from the Danish Society for Patient Safety discussing the second principal.

And for those keen to become more strategic with their communications for improvement, this 6 steps video from 1000 Lives Improvement is a great help.
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