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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Philip Kemp, Moorene Gilding, Khooseal Seewooruttun, Hannah Walsh

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-55
Number of pages8
JournalNursing Standard
Volume31
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sep 2016

King's Authors

Abstract

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.

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