31st October 2014
Innovative support by Team Manager Julia McLean for newly qualified Health Visitors in Cambridge City Team (Cambridge Community Trust).
As part of the evaluation process for the Induction and Preceptor Frameworks, an HV team manager shared how they are allocating safeguarding cases to new HVs.
Team manager Julia McLean has embraced and supported ‘call to action’ since its inception 4 years ago. Julia manages a team working within a challenging population of high needs and inequalities which can be emotionally draining on her staff. Julia is aware that the city’s reputation can go before it and staff do not usually volunteer to work in this area. Therefore prior to new staff arriving in her team Julia actively invites them to spend a day with an HV in the city team to test out their new working environment. Students are invited to a ‘tea’ just before qualifying to meet the wider team and spend time with them in practice. Staff feel valued and respected and any preconceived thoughts can be dispelled quite quickly before starting work. This is great evidence to support Whittaker (2013) Start and Stay research which found the staff who feel valued and respected stay!
Co-working of safeguarding cases.
Currently they are trialling the allocation of safeguarding cases. From day one in their new post while waiting for their Pin number to arrive, NQHVs are allocated safeguarding case to co-work dependent on the number within the whole caseload. This equates to an equal split across each member of the team whether NQHV or experienced staff and is worked out according to the days each practitioner works. This means they build up experience and confidence from day one with support from a ‘buddy’ on a daily basis. By the time their Pin number arrives (usually within 3 months) they feel ready to take full responsibility. Interestingly an NQHV elsewhere in the city (not part of the trial) was not allocated any cases to co-work and, now her Pin number has arrived, feels anxious at the prospect of assuming safeguarding responsibility.
This is an excellent example of great team leadership. The effort Julia makes on getting to know her staff individually before they start means she is building up a team of relatively junior HVs into confident public health leaders who feel valued.