Practice Development Supports The Covid-19 Response

Pictured: (top to bottom) Muriel McNab, Rachel Fuller and Claire MacAskill.

Across NHS Highland departments and individuals have changed and adapted how and where they work to support the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

For Practice Development, which provides advice, training and support to clinical staff, it has meant adapting how they work and also who they deliver advice and training to.

Part of the Practice Development role has always been in the delivery of clinical skills sessions, but since Covid-19 their time has been spent delivering clinical skill updates, refreshers and introductory sessions for nursing and non-nursing staff who are returning to clinical practice or are new to clinical practice.

Muriel McNab and Rachel Fuller have worked in Practice Development for nearly 20 years.

While their role has always had a focus on appropriate training and development opportunities to mainly nursing and Healthcare Support Worker (HCSW) staff, they have found that since the pandemic they are now training administrative and Allied Health Professional (AHP) staff who have agreed to take on some HCSW roles to help at this time.

Muriel said:

“Some of the biggest challenges logistically for the Practice Development team were organising the skills sessions in a very short time frame for a large number of people.

“We also had to change the way in which we would normally deliver skills training, rethinking how we carried it out to ensure everyone stayed safe during the sessions using physical distancing.

“I think it’s fair to say that most people have arrived at the sessions quite apprehensive.

“There has been anxiety about how Covid would progress, where they would be redeployed to, how they would cope and feel, and would they be of any help to the clinical areas.

“What we also saw was a great camaraderie and support between those attending and a recognition that they were all in the same boat.

“By chatting to each other, and to us, they relaxed a bit and by the time the course finished they all felt a little better and realised that they all could help in some way.”

Claire MacAskill, who has been with the team for just under a year, has been impressed by how people have reacted.

She said:

“As a team we have been bowled over by the amazingly positive attitudes and a desire to help.

“So many were out of their comfort zone but prepared to try their best to support their colleagues and clinical areas.

“Everyone has been flexible, helpful and a willingness to help at very short notice.

“By the end of the training the attitude has become very much a ‘we can do this’ and psychological peer support between attendees who would not normally work together.

“We’re definitely all in this together.”