People and Education Directorate | Celebrating BWC Spirit

Celebrating BWC Spirit

BWC Spirit Logo We are highlighting the amazing things our colleagues have done and achieved during the pandemic.

Our teams have bravely stood by the side of our patients, changed how they have worked to keep key and emergency services running and gone beyond the Trust to help colleagues in other parts of the NHS.

They have done so with an approach and spirit that is uniquely BWC and we want to celebrate that and what has been achieved.

From frontline clinical colleagues to our unseen and often unsung heroes in labs, offices and in our corridors - everyone has had a part to play and we’re sharing some of their stories over the next two weeks.

If you would like to thank individuals or teams either by sharing some kind words, pictures or a short video we would love to see them. You can submit your messages, pictures or videos by emailing

People and Education Directorate

By Raffaela Goodby, Chief People Officer, Bethan Downing, Deputy Chief People Officer, Surinder Kaur, Deputy Chief People Officer, the People and Education Directorate and Jay Kumar, Deputy Chief People Officer for Education.

PED team What was your experience of the pandemic? 

Our teams are often considered back office services, but we feel that our teams, along with other support services, are the backbone of our Trust. We support and look after our clinical colleagues so they are available, well and trained to look after our patients. Our experiences of the pandemic have been everyone going outside their comfort zone to work incredibly hard, doing anything that needs doing, to get our Trust through. The BWC Spirit has been evident and alive across all of our services.   

Our teams worked tirelessly inside the Trust, and with our ICS partners, to ensure we had people available at all times. We made policy and guidance on the hoof to respond to the challenges that changed each day, often deciding what we would do with our NHS colleagues, and implementing it before the government guidance had been communicated and launched. Our teams quickly refreshed and redesigned everything to ‘go virtual’ including recruitment (both medical and non-medical), induction, learning, training, and junior doctor induction and streamlined our processes to make it easier to recruit skilled colleagues into the Trust. Our team inducted and supported the second and third pre-registered learners who were employed as part of the national workforce during the pandemic. We also hosted a visit from Mark Radford (Deputy Chief Nurse for England) to meet our redeployed learners to thank them and hear their personal experiences. Our team is responsible for all of the people data, and we led the People response at the tactical meetings to ensure we could redeploy safely, that we knew how many people were isolating, when they would return and ensured everyone was paid correctly. Our teams were also ringing shielded colleagues, getting people back to work, vaccinating colleagues, becoming fit testers, working shifts on mutual aid and of course on the front door. It was often our teams who were able to reassure colleagues at their most vulnerable and signpost them to the support and guidance available to them, at a challenging time.  

Raffaela and Bethan joined the team halfway through the pandemic, and previously Theresa Nelson had been incredible and led the workforce response to the Nightingale Hospital being set up as well as everything else. Dawn Harvey did a great job of leading the team through the changes and has since moved on to be an executive director in another Trust. Everyone dealt so brilliantly with the changes, it’s not easy to get new leaders during a global pandemic! 

What was the hardest part? 

To start with the hardest part was the uncertainty and the unknown – and advice and guidance changing so often as the pandemic developed. We like to give consistent advice, and sometimes advice would change from morning to evening. Our systems aren’t set up for a pandemic, so getting daily data on isolation numbers, rosters, and availability and ensuring that no one was missed was hard. We also supported the colleagues and families of those who sadly passed away, and behind the scenes sorted the death in service processes for those colleagues with their families. Our team was affected by family members passing away too and they were balancing their personal grief with wanting to support colleagues and do a really good job for our patients and their families. It was hard not to see some of the team face-to-face at times.  

How did you cope? 

Our team members had their fears to deal with; whilst realising they needed to support each other, focussed on what needed to be done and prioritised, and were responsive and innovative about solutions. We developed strong relationships with other HR and Education leads in the region too, so if we were developing an approach, we knew that we were being consistent amongst ourselves even if the national guidance was still being developed.  

What did you learn? 

So much! We learned that we can make risk-based decisions and develop and launch guidance and changes quickly. We learned how to communicate with lots of people virtually to ensure they were aware of changes. We learned about the amazing resilience and spirit of all of our colleagues (well reminded really). We learned about partnerships by helping our UHB colleagues and we learned that most things can be done virtually! Every team member had a role to play. We had stark reminders of how fortunate we are to have our health, friends and family; to be selfless and kinder to each other.  

How do you think it changed the team? 

Although we have been working remotely, and rotating on-site because of social distancing, it has brought us closer as a team and I hope, that the team realise their worth and importance in enabling the clinical staff to be able to focus on our patients. We realised what we could achieve in unity and worked across the teams to support each other. We are more focused on the mental health and well-being of our colleagues and more educated about inclusion, especially race and our directorate role in driving change. It has made us much more data focussed as there have been lots of data returns! It has made us closer as we want to check in on each other more, and I feel it’s made us more confident to drive forward positive changes as we know that we can. 

Beyond your team, who has inspired you during the pandemic? 

So many people and probably too many to mention! We have been inspired by the stories we hear from colleagues who have gone through a difficult time personally, managed homeschooling, home working, travel challenges, money challenges and yet shown up for their colleagues and patients by hook or by crook. We have the privilege of hearing those stories and everyone is an inspiration. We are so grateful to be able to celebrate that BWC Spirit in this way. 

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