Mood-boosting Books readings at Torbay Hospital
21 August 2012 / 0 Comments
In July 2012, the Trust Library hosted a pilot Mood-boosting Book event for staff at Torbay Hospital.
Taking time out to relax and listen
During two lunchtimes in mid-July, the Trust Library invited colleagues to take twenty minutes out to relax and listen to readings of pages chosen from some favourite books and ones less well known, including: Cider with Rosie, The Secret Garden, Bill Bryson's Notes from a Small Island and Life with the Lid Off by Nicola Hodgkinson.
The books were all from The Reading Agency's national Mood-boosting Books list chosen by the public and which were added to the Library's collection in April. The Library Manager initially checked her idea with the staff counsellor and a clinical psychologist, then raised it at the Trust's staff health and wellbeing group in April, who fully supported the proposal.
The first theme chosen to pilot this new series of occasional lunchtime readings was a celebration of summer, come rain or shine! The Library Manager invited the Hospital's Co-ordinating Chaplain to join herself and the Senior Library Assistant in each reading two short extracts. Staff were invited to bring a sandwich, and refreshments were provided. The concept of the mood-boosting collection was explained, and the books were all available for staff to borrow afterwards.
Promoting the event
The event was publicised in weekly staff bulletins for Torbay and Southern Devon Health and Care NHS Trust and South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, for three weeks preceding the event. It was promoted on the Library's website, the staff health and wellbeing website, by posters, emails, and word-of-mouth. A colleague who delivers internal-mail displayed the poster in his van.
Role of the library
The Library is primarily used by clinicians, so on one level, this activity was an opportunity to promote the Library as a space for all staff to use; it also created a reason to collaborate with other departments. In terms of CPD it showcased a previously hidden talent of the Library's Senior Assistant.
Even more than these, the idea was a simple, cheap and innovative way to show the Library's ability to proactively engage in wider requirements such as the national need stated by NHS Employers to support staff through the NHS Reform transition: the Department of Health is working to ensure that accountability for improving staff experience and wellbeing is part of the new health and social care system.
What Torbay Hospital staff thought
Nine members of staff from a range of departments attended the pilot event, including one person who had not been to the Library before.
After the readings, people said:
- I like being read to - it's been a long time since I've been read to
- Nice to chat about readings at the end
- Would definitely come again
- Readings flowed really well
- Very relaxing for a Friday afternoon
- Enjoyed the voices
Nine feedback slips were returned. All selected the 'smiling face' to indicate how the session made them feel.
Additional written feedback received when asked "After coming today I will:"
- Smile all afternoon
- Work with a smile this afternoon
- Tell everyone about it
- Pass the word! Loved it, thank you all
- Certainly come again and recommend to others
- Get back to reading for relaxation
- Make more time for reading
Owing to the enthusiastic feedback for this pilot, further events using the same Mood-boosting Books list are being scheduled. The Chaplain is happy to continue this collaboration:
What lovely feedback! You can certainly be pleased with the response of those who came, even though I know you had hoped for more of them. I think it is very encouraging, and definitely a vote of confidence in your excellent choice of readings. Happy to be involved again. Martin Manley, Co-ordinating Chaplain
A member of SDHCT's Lifestyles team with responsibility for mental health attended, and the Library will develop future collaborations with her too.
Anecdotally, several staff said they would have liked to attend but could not make the July dates. The next theme will feature autumn; however the concept can also be rolled out using specific care-related themes such as 'positive ageing'. The activity is portable and could easily be taken out from the Library to other sites.
We hope the Trust Library at Torbay Hospital has inspired you to have a go at hosting a Mood-boosting Books event at your hospital library.
If you have held an event, or are planning one in the future, why not get in touch? You can email us and tell us all about your event. We would love to hear from you.