Background and activity to date
Portfolio. Dr Susie Hunt draws on a wide portfolio of experience – in five specialties of hospital medicine during GP training, as partner and salaried doctor in General Practice, as medical student teacher & MRCGP course teacher, as GP appraiser and Commissioning Locality Lead – as well as having extensive experience in pastoral care in both local church setting and 4 years with the CUH Chaplaincy, caring for those of all faiths and none.
Over the last five years, pre-Covid, she initiated and facilitated monthly debrief groups for clinical staff across various different departments* of Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust(CUH) – totalling 14 regular groups – with consequent 1:1 counselling/pastoral sessions and invitation to facilitate challenging team/difficult case-specific debriefs.
*Oncology, Neurology, Paediatrics, Radiology, VTS(GP trainees), NICU, Paediatric Oncology and Physiotherapy
A monthly café space has been created within certain departments, another creative way of supporting medical staff ‘down-time’ and promoting valuable communication, understanding and connectivity across grades.
Dr Susie Hunt’s skills in reflective debriefing and resilience/wellbeing training have been incorporated into the East of England Paediatrics regional training days and Obstetrics & Gynaecology mentoring days and she has been invited to contribute to the teaching programme of the MSc Oncology in London.
She has lectured on her work at training days for the GP Trainers of both Huntingdonshire and Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, and received invitation to speak at the Royal College of Radiologists(RCR) to Heads of Service in Oncology in July 2018, the annual conferences of the British Institute of Radiologists(BIR) and RCR in 2020, as well as conferences across Europe, Canada and Japan.
For publications of her work(BMJ, JClinRadiology) – see ‘Research & Publications’ section
Activity since onset of the Covid pandemic (March 2020) has included-
1. Drawing together a small team of highly experienced, pastorally-skilled GPs to help give 1:1 support to CUH medical & surgical colleagues, of all grades & specialties: the CUH Doctors-for-Doctors service (see ‘Doctors-for-Doctors’ section). As of March 2021, 150 doctors have engaged (20 fold increase since start of pandemic)
2. Pastoral supervisions (weekly provision of 1:1 and 2:1) for Physiotherapy workforce have superceded the face-to-face large physio team debrief groups to providing regular availability of focused support for those in need.
3. Reflective debrief groups: there has been an increase in requests for reflective debriefing– including the Occupational Health physicians, MS specialist nurses, Radiology nurses and across the whole of the physiotherapy workforce (until F2F not permitted) inc critical care physios, in addition to the established Oncology, Neurology, Paediatrics, Radiology, VTS(GP trainees), NICU and Paediatric Oncology groups. Debriefing activity is face to face or virtual via Zoom, as appropriate.
3. Resilience and wellbeing teaching: Susie has developed a training package of didactic/interactive teaching which can be delivered over 1-4hrs to equip clinicians with understanding in the areas of burnout, trauma exposure response, secondary traumatic stress and PTSD, attributes of the resilient clinician, communication tips and practical back-pockets tools to maintain wellbeing at home/work. Since the start of 2021 she has used this material to teach HEE-funded courses for SAS docs, Clinical Fellows, SuppoRTT docs (returning to training), Paediatricians, Obstetricians and GP trainees. (See ‘Resilience & wellbeing Courses’ section)
4. Development of ‘Physios-for-Physios’ team: ACT-funding has been secured (March 2021) to enable training and mentoring of physio team leads and selected ‘wellbeing champions’ within the physiotherapy workforce to embed in the culture of the department a sustainable emphasis on wellbeing, resilience and reflective debrief. Pastoral supervisions will be coupled with training in resilience and communication skills, with ongoing mentoring and support as required.
Scope & Deliverables. Susie works to support staff through a number of means
1. Facilitation of Monthly Reflective Debrief groups aiming to cultivate ‘community at work’ – enabling work pressures, issues and difficulties to be acknowledged and explored in a supportive, facilitated space amongst peers, whilst reinforcing values of kindness and good practice and attending to the ‘whole person’ and promoting resilience. Susie uses a ‘toolbelt’ of differing skills and approaches responsive to needs of each group eg. Values-based reflective practice tools, Balint gp- informed approaches, resilience and self-care tools etc.
Ideal maximum group number is 12-15.
2. Facilitated reflective debrief for clinical teams/MDTs during and after provision of inpatient care for ‘difficult cases’ incurring high emotional toil for staff.
3. Facilitated debrief for teams undergoing tension, dysfunction and interpersonal difficulties
4. One-to-one staff support providing a non-judgmental, supportive environment, a holding place where issues can be addressed and worked through in a facilitated way.
-Modality of service is responsive to the nature of the clinician/group, the specialty /department, and the time and resources available, and can be decided by discussion on request.
–Referrals for one-to-one sessions can be by self-referral (debrief group participants, word-of-mouth recommendation – agreed by department lead), by supervisor/clinical lead request, from Medical Workforce team or other source.
–Referrals/requests for regular debrief group provision are by department/divisional leads.