A work-based learning approach for clinical support workers on mental health inpatient wards
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence & Practice    

A work-based learning approach for clinical support workers on mental health inpatient wards

Philip Kemp Visiting fellow, School of Health and Social Care, London South Bank University, London, England
Moorene Gilding Clinical skills tutor, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, London, England
Khooseal Seewooruttun Nurse advisor (professional standards), South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, London, England
Hannah Walsh Clinical skills tutor, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, London, England
Background

With a rise in the number of unqualified staff providing health and social care, and reports raising concerns about the quality of care provided, there is a need to address the learning needs of clinical support workers. This article describes a qualitative evaluation of a service improvement project that involved a work-based learning approach for clinical support workers on mental health inpatient wards.

Aim

To investigate and identify insights in relation to the content and process of learning using a work-based learning approach for clinical support workers.

Method

This was a qualitative evaluation of a service improvement project involving 25 clinical support workers at the seven mental health inpatient units in South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. Three clinical skills tutors were appointed to develop, implement and evaluate the work-based learning approach. Four sources of data were used to evaluate this approach, including reflective journals, qualitative responses to questionnaires, three focus groups involving the clinical support workers and a group interview involving the clinical skills tutors. Data were analysed using thematic analysis.

Findings

The work-based learning approach was highly valued by the clinical support workers and enhanced learning in practice. Face-to-face learning in practice helped the clinical support workers to develop practice skills and reflective learning skills. Insights relating to the role of clinical support workers were also identified, including the benefits of face-to-face supervision in practice, particularly in relation to the interpersonal aspects of care.

Conclusion

A work-based learning approach has the potential to enhance care delivery by meeting the learning needs of clinical support workers and enabling them to apply learning to practice. Care providers should consider how the work-based learning approach can be used on a systematic, organisation-wide basis in the context of budgetary restrictions.

Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2016.e10196

Correspondence

pjkemp1@gmail.com

Peer review

All articles are subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

Received: 23 June 2015

Accepted: 16 December 2015

Published online: 08 September 2016

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