Staff celebrate completing programme for young people’s services

Posted: 08/01/21

The first cohort of a programme designed to meet the needs of specialist young people’s services has come to an end.

The ‘Foundational Key Competence, Registrant Working with Children and Young People in Mental Health and Learning Disability Specialist Service’ is the first of its kind for mental health and learning disability service provider Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW).

Facilitated by the CNTW Academy, the accredited programme has been co-produced with the help of staff, managers and young people.

Five members of staff working in the Trust’s Children and Young People’s Services (CYPS) have qualified with plans to have a celebratory event over Microsoft Teams.

The 18-week programme, which officially started in July 2020, is based on existing and current developments in contemporary practice. It was offered to registrants new to CYPS inpatient services, with a view to roll out across all CYPS services within the Trust.

Further cohorts will also be open to include skilled staff from Band 3 onwards.

Jackie Jollands, Group Nurse Director at CNTW, said: “It’s a fantastic achievement for our members of staff who have finished the programme, especially during what has been such a challenging time.

“The programme has enabled growth and personal development which will, in turn, help improve the care of our service users. It has enhanced their career prospects, practice and confidence and we hope to welcome many more members of staff into future cohorts.”

Advanced occupational therapist and senior trainer Susan Graham was a module lead for the programme and has shared her experience.

“In January 2020 I was given the opportunity of a year’s secondment into a training role within Children and Young People’s Services. With thirty years of experience in occupational therapy, this was a welcomed way of extending my skills to support the independence of my colleagues.

“Then in July, the CNTW Academy worked with Specialist CYPS staff to develop a degree module in Young People’s Mental Health for Inpatient Services. The module content was adopted from ‘Alnwood and Ferndene’s In-Patient Core Training Course’ that was developed from IAPT principles and learning. With the future development of this course to include Community Services, the module would eventually be delivered at a range of different levels of certificate, diploma, degree and masters. The first cohort of staff students would undertake the degree module only, to allow the course pathways to be established. In October the course was officially accredited by ‘One Awards’ and now has status for students to record credit points for their Continuous Professional Development.

“I was given the role of one of five Module Leads for the course. This role was to support individual students through their whole learning experience and the development of clinical reflective pieces and a written assignment. Each student was also assigned a ward-based Practice Supervisor who gave them regular supervision. Practice Supervisors supported the collection of clinical evidence to support the student’s written submissions, throughout the 18-week course.

“Tripartite contracts were developed to provide protection of time for students to attend to their studies and research. All students were supported by CNTW Library Services, Subject Experts and Professor Sheila McQueen from the Academy, for all aspects of learning and personal development. Students were provided with six full days of teaching at the beginning of the course which included an introduction to the course, practice of reflective and library skills and five days of academic teaching.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my role within the course as I have been able to see staff student development and progression in a skills based format which has brought about further confidence within staff teams. Ultimately, providing better quality care to our population of young people in inpatient services. I have enjoyed working with staff from CNTW Academy and seeing the breadth of their roles within supporting our staff teams.

“The course was not without its difficulties, and the need to use Microsoft Teams sometimes made it difficult to support, nurture and empower staff learning experiences. However, virtual access to different aspects of the course made it indeed possible, and like other aspects of a global pandemic, many were able to accommodate and adjust to a new ways of learning.

“I would strongly recommend that staff look into talking on a student role along-side their clinical responsibilities to further enhance their professional developments in relevant study of their present clinical fields of practice.”