This month in Synergy I talk about evidence - hopefully not evidence you have to provide in court, to the coroner, or employment tribunal, which I am sure some of you will have had involvement with.
If you have then you will know how important it is to have written evidence, audit evidence etc. to back up the statements you are making.
So, as a leader, how do you help your teams gather evidence?
I would suggest (because it is my job) that having a quality management system is key, as it will act as a repository for all your written evidence and audit.
Within the imaging standard, you can find this in the Leadership and Management domain under LM2.
This section allows you to demonstrate your audit programme, all your policies/procedures and protocols, what you do about discrepancies and how you manage risk. All of which are important in demonstrating you have a quality service and how you use this evidence to bring about service improvement.
After all, who doesn’t want to work in a service that is keeping up-to-date, ensuring they are efficient by making the best use of their resources and can prove that they are doing so?
I could go into lots of detail about schemes of work, WHO checklists, benchmarking etc. but I know you are more than aware of what is needed to demonstrate the performance and quality aspects of your service.
What about ‘testimonial’ evidence? Evidence which demonstrates by actions that you are operating safely, efficiently, treating patients well and providing the best service you can. In other words, how to show you do “what it says on the tin”?
If a locum or new member of staff walks into your service or part thereof, would they be able to see from your team/teams how ‘things’ are done? Or do you have team members who do things differently from each other depending on how they were taught or which piece of evidence they are using? How confusing is it for new starters who have your protocols or schemes of work but see something else in practice?
The most difficult part of leading a team/teams is ensuring that all your team members follow the written protocol/scheme of work; after all we don’t have eyes in the back of heads, no matter what we tell our children or team members.
Sometimes we can negotiate a new protocol etc. put it into place and then expect it to be followed, only to find someone still thinks their way is better and so you end up with (if you are lucky) two ways of performing the process. How frustrating is that?
Testimonial evidence can reveal to you where your potential risks may be, where the safest process is not being followed.
As part of your evidence collection, why not invest a little time in getting the ‘do what it says on the tin’ evidence?
You could ask team leads to look at areas they are not familiar with, give them the scheme of work and see if the team members in the area act in accordance with it.
You never know it may provide insight into further improvement especially if the ‘tin’ doesn’t really fit the purpose it was intended for.
It also gives you the opportunity to get onto ‘the shop floor’ and get feedback from your team members, to see their challenges and triumphs and to provide help to those who need it; whether that be a replacement chair for elderly patients or a change in process.
A friendly critical eye can help a team enormously, constructive feedback can help teams pull together, can help them celebrate and can help them support each other.
This is true of the feedback of written evidence as well as that of testimonial evidence. Why not ask your students, if you have them, they are really good at this.
As the BFG says:
“The matter with human beans,” the BFG went on “is that they absolutely refuse to believe in anything unless they is actually seeing it right in front of their own schnozzles” - The BFG by Roald Dahl.