Belongingness – and practice development

I attended the Practice Development School held at this university last week. Thirty health professionals comprised of  nurses from hospital settings, school nurses and other community environments, occupational therapy, psychology and a couple of higher education lecturers across Tasmania came together to experientually learn ‘how’ to incorporate practice development principles into their daily work.  There were sessions on how this approach has developed, why it works, how to plan and build teams, evaluate and even include self-care to enable resilience at an individual, team and organisation level. The participants were able to explore the concepts through a range of techniques including working in small and medium sized teams to develop posters, mimes, role play and even explorative dance… some participants grasped the opportunity to move outside their comfort zones more easily than others.  It was busy… lots of work was undertaken, participants learned about participation, inclusion and collaboration through using different opening and closing of session techniques. We provided feedback each day and the facilitators also modelled practice development techniques in their feedback to the group. Evaluation of the programme continues as in 6 months each particiapnt will receive a survey and need to comment on how they have incorporated the learning into their practice if they have…

So I have dug into the archive… one of the practice development ideas is to model the behaviour you would like in your team… belongingness was a theme that showed up among those that attended.  This blog may be of interest because it is so important in the workplace:

From the archive:


Specialised support for student nurses making the transition to graduate nurse can be crucial to successful and smooth adjust into the graduate role. Nash, Lemcke and Sacre (2009) discuss a study they undertook on preparedness for professional practice.  The outcomes of their study found that although preparedness did not differ significantly between the students who participated in the trial there were beneficial aspects that enhanced their experience.  These factors included belongingness to a team that understood their needs and could work constructively with them. Qualitative themes that emerged were growing in confidence and competence; experiencing the ‘real world’ of nursing practice; and becoming part of a team.

The authors  also held focus groups with registered nurses and industry representatives and found that two themes emerged.  These were stepping back and allowing students to take the lead in terms of delivery of patient care. Industry representatives indicated that an improved cultural and work readiness of students value-added for them, as well as enhanced outcomes for students, and made participation in a transition initiative worthwhile.

The implications of this study for professional experience facilitation or supervision of students is that it concurs other work that indicated that a sense belongingness is important for providing a safe framework for students to work within. I have previously blogged about the importance of orientation, welcoming and being prepared for students in the workplace.  Reducing anxiety and promoting belongingness will enhance learning and patient outcomes which as these authors indicated is a win-win for everyone on the team.

The SNM has developed an orientation day guide and orientation day student questionnaire If you have any tips or comments about belongingness you are welcome to post them here. Please join us @PEPCommunity.


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