Walk a mile in my shoes


We are now running #MatExp Whose Shoes workshops all round the country. Everyone working together to improve maternity care – how exciting! There had been a big build up to the event in Poole and we were looking forward to it. 😀 And even some 'fairy godmothers' 👀

There had been a #MatExp Whose Shoes event for Poole Hospital in July, organised by NHS Dorset CCG as part of their #BetterBirths Early Adopters programme. But Poole had always wanted their own event too and I had agreed to facilitate it for them.

Jillian Ireland had done excellent preparation and the room was full.

Minesh gave a really interesting talk to get people thinking about multiple realities; the importance of looking at things from different perspectives, which is central to Whose Shoes.

"Don't try this at home!" says Minesh.

Some obviously feisty people in the room. What more could we need? 😉

Soon some fantastic conversations were underway – with everyone beavering away writing post-its to feed into Anna who was graphically recording all the key insights and ideas.

Starting with a blank page, Anna was soon inundated …

At Whose Shoes events, we are all there as people, not 'roles'. It was lovely to see Minesh playing with this little girl rather than 'just' being a neonatologist.

And the CEO and the chairman of the trust were among the people listening. No hierarchy, just people.

Sandra Chitty, Head of Midwifery, was enjoying seeing the babies growing up! This little boy loved the yellow shoe.

There was no shortage of willing helpers keen to look after the babies!

Eventually the excitement proved too much!

But the conversations continued while the little ones slept.

There was a great mix of people in the room

The scenarios and poems provoked really lively discussions.

People wrote down all the people key points from the discussions

And someone even wrote this poem!

As always, language and its impact on women and families was a key issue.

'Elderly prima gravida' is not a very flattering way to describe a first time mum!

And there was a strong call for more support for dads.

Someone had seen the recent case study about a grandad helping in a neonatal intensive care unit and this idea was found to be very popular.

We all agreed that Jilly deserved a #MatExp #BetterBirths sash - a much sought-after commodity following our #MatExp the Musical extravaganza at NHS Expo

Anna gave us a great summary of the discussions from all the tables. Had she misinterpreted anything? Had she missed anything?

Eek! What had we forgotten?

Now instead of just fairy godmothers wishing for things … there were passionate people pledging to make the necessary improvements.

Just some of the pledges that will turn into a really important actions over the next few weeks and months.

Before we knew it, the workshop was over and it was time to collect up all the post-it's. Hundreds of them!

And for Anna to roll up the graphic record to take away and be scanned, so that multiple images can be provided to the hospital.

A great piece of artwork and powerful way to remember - and act upon - all the key messages.

Twitter was busy and we had some great feedback. I love these comments from Sarah, a doctor. What was she doing there? - she was a consultant geriatrician?? Oh, she was also a new mum! 🍋🍋🍋

It was great to meet Jenny from Dorset CCG and learn more about how it all links together. We are really keen to work further with the #BetterBirths programme.

And there is fantastic energy to maintain and build the mentum.

It is rewarding to hear that some of our leading #MatExp Whose Shoes sites are planning 'Nobody's Patient' workshops: including King's College in November and Leeds in January. I have a feeling Poole will be joining them.

People put a great deal of time and effort into preparation – it always pays off. Well done Jilly!

I had been looking forward to meeting Minesh Khashu for a very long time. Not just for his role as a leading neonatologist and to tell him more about 'Nobodys Patient'. Minesh has an incredibly diverse range of interests, including 'Generation G' working with older people. Strong links to our #CovMindTheGap work.

We did a #CovMindTheGap style 'walk and talk' down by the water's edge – what a beautiful day!

And inevitably we discovered we had more things in common. Cricket-playing sons! You are far more likely to discover real things about real human beings when you walk and talk than when you have formal meetings!

And then I crashed out in the evening with some Whose Shoes style cushions.

Join us.

For more information, follow @WhoseShoes and #MatExp on Twitter and visit matexp.org.uk nutshellcomms.co.uk

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