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Factors affecting staff morale on inpatient mental health wards in England: a qualitative investigation

Totman, J; Hundt, GL; Wearn, E; Paul, M; Johnson, S; (2011) Factors affecting staff morale on inpatient mental health wards in England: a qualitative investigation. BMC Psychiatry , 11 , Article 68. 10.1186/1471-244X-11-68. Green open access

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Abstract

Background: Good morale among staff on inpatient psychiatric wards is an important requirement for the maintenance of strong therapeutic alliances and positive patient experiences, and for the successful implementation of initiatives to improve care. More understanding is needed of mechanisms underlying good and poor morale.Method: We conducted individual and group interviews with staff of a full range of disciplines and levels of seniority on seven NHS in-patient wards of varying types in England.Results: Inpatient staff feel sustained in their potentially stressful roles by mutual loyalty and trust within cohesive ward teams. Clear roles, supportive ward managers and well designed organisational procedures and structures maintain good morale. Perceived threats to good morale include staffing levels that are insufficient for staff to feel safe and able to spend time with patients, the high risk of violence, and lack of voice in the wider organisation.Conclusions: Increasing employee voice, designing jobs so as to maximise autonomy within clear and well-structured operational protocols, promoting greater staff-patient contact and improving responses to violence may contribute more to inpatient staff morale than formal support mechanisms.

Type: Article
Title: Factors affecting staff morale on inpatient mental health wards in England: a qualitative investigation
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/1471-244X-11-68
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-244X-11-68
Language: English
Additional information: © 2011 Totman et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: ACUTE PSYCHIATRIC-WARDS, ADMISSION, SUPPORT, STRESS, CARE
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1317274
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