Using creativity, your imagination and freedom to explore in the workplace can help generate fresh ideas, new streams of thinking and help you discover new things. In healthcare, it can be challenging to engage in creativity in the daily work routine, this could be due to pressures and a predominant focus on operational, process-driven and transactional approaches.
During our childhood, creativity fuels our imagination and possibilities, but as we grow older, competing demands and the pressurized environment can make it challenging to do this. My project was to start to use art, sketch notes and drawings more in healthcare. I want to bring creativity to the forefront and break down language barriers, communication methods and bring joy in work through visuals.
This set me on a personal mission to start to work with different staff groups to create bright, colourful, bespoke visuals. I then moved on to thinking “why don’t I teach others how to do it?” with this, I set up my own sketch notes club where I teach people the skills to do this. Sketchnotes are simple, colourful and creative information maps on a page teamed with drawings/icons to help make things memorable.
My aim is to transform the way we engage with each other as staff and service users through the use of pictures, colours and sketch notes. I strive to help unlock creativity with busy front line staff groups and create an end pictorial/sketch notes that can be used in their workplace to transform how we communicate. My goal is also to start to teach tips and techniques to other people to start to do their own.
They also unlock improvements through creative methods of drawing and engaging with their imagination. My goal is to have universal, simple, language friendly, memorable and emotive visuals used to communicate with service users who might find it difficult to relate to lengthy written complex information.
This can directly link to improving patient outcomes e.g. I am in the process of creating a “no language” booklet on reduced fetal movement to help women spot the signs sooner and respond, I have produced a “no language” booklet in conjunction with a Nurse about sudden infant death syndrome for patients. My goal is to also improve the patient experience by having welcoming, friendly and emotive displays of information in pictorial formats. Some examples are attached.
I have had over 150 people attend my sketch notes club sessions that were set up 4 months ago. Analysis of the evaluation sheets from the sessions has shown a 60% increase in confidence of staff being able to do their own sketch notes who thought they previously couldn’t. 100% of staff would recommend the course to others. Qualitative analysis of the feedback sheets has shown how staff felt this was a new way to unlock improvements, engage with service users and make crucial information more memorable for them in the workplace.
I have presented my mission of sketch notes and pictorials transforming healthcare to over 500 people across different organisations. I have had over 100+ sketch notes shared with me from a wide range of staff trying it for the first time.
I have had feedback from over 25 sketch notes/pictorials I drew specifically to communicate with patients/service users where the feedback has overall shown:
• A reduction in complaints (children’s’ ward leaflet)
• Increased recognition of healthcare requirements/condition (SIDs booklet, endpjparalysis, family journey)
• Improved patient experience (British red cross discharge services)
• Improved staff moral (small acts of kindness, joy in work, leadership)
• Improved staff memory of critical processes (admissions, pressure ulcers, falls, deteriorating patients, improvement)
I have enabled others to do what I do by setting up training courses on how to do sketchn otes. The purpose of the sessions is to practically take people through the creative process of doing sketch notes and show them anyone can do it! I have held workshops across 10 different organisations; I have had my slide pack requested and shared over 100 times. Some examples of organisations it has spread to are:
Royal Bournemouth Hospital, East London Trust, Royal Cornwall Hospital and Nottingham University Hospital.
I had no funding, no allocated time and no extra support when I started this mission of mine. It has been wonderful to see it grow over the past year and see so many people, departments and hospitals engage with it. I think the positive movement, creativity and kindness en-wrapped in it helped it naturally spread.
A sketchnote/pictorial can help you focus on key points and make information memorable – which is really valuable in pressured healthcare. It can help you use your imagination through brainstorming and free thinking to completely shift approaches. It can bring some colour, fun and motivation that you just might need on some challenging days.
The courses I offer as well as providing bespoke pictorials/sketch notes has led to improving value.
I created a patient journey and access pictorial into the Integrated Care Hub at Bradford Hospital. It saw an increase in the use of the service from approx. 2 referrals from A&E to over 81 referrals over a 2 month period. This helped reduce unnecessary hospital admissions
An example of improved patient experience was on the Children’s ward at Bradford Hospital. There were lots of complaints (approx. 60%) related to not knowing where things were on the ward, where to go and how Parents could use services. The creation of a children’s ward leaflet in collaboration with the Nurses and Doctors on the ward led to a 50% reduction in complaints relating to some of the issues listed above in the following 2 months where I monitored it.
An example of improved quality is the creation of a pressure ulcer awareness poster I created for the Tissue Viability Nurses at Bradford Hospital. This helped remind staff of what to do to help prevent pressure ulcers. It is used on many wards and has contributed to the reduction in pressure ulcers and increased staff knowledge.
I started off with this idea alone and it would not have grown to the scale it has without the support of key stakeholders who helped shape its journey.
The Chief Nurse at Bradford Hospital championed my vision, shared my work and encouraged the use of it. The Medical Director who wasn’t sure about what the impact of it could be has fully embraced the concept and helped set up avenues for me to showcase it. The Associate Medical Director for Quality has used this to help improve radiology services and how we communicate to service users. External mentors
and supporters have been Brian Dolan, creator of #endpjparalysis, Emergency Care Intensive Support Team and East London Foundation Trust. My Mum who was recently diagnosed with cancer is my patient inspiration for providing universal language friendly information. She does not speak English, she proofs my work and helps guide me.
It was not an easy journey as creativity and artwork is not at the forefront of healthcare. My passion, enthusiasm and energy helped me engage with people. I recently won an award in my hospital for “personal impact” which recognised my contribution in healthcare/patient safety through the use of creativity