The Creative Writing Handbook for Healthcare Workers has now been published – featuring moving poetry from 19 members of staff at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust – all about the struggles of working through the COVID-19 pandemic
The book is a collaboration between the Trust and The Open University who joined forces on a series creative writing workshops to establish whether poetry could reduce stress and improve the mental wellbeing of healthcare workers during the pandemic.
Ward matron Kim Duffy is one of poets to have her work included in the book.
She said: “Writing and finally being able to get it all out just brought it all back to reality. It’s a way to communicate what you’re really feeling which is something a lot of people don’t want to do.
“We’re regularly reflecting on what we do on a professional level but this was different. This was from the heart.”
Copies of book are now available in all wards at the Trust for both patients and staff to read.
The Open University-funded pilot and resulting book were devised by nurse consultant in cancer and palliative care Mel McEvoy, consultant in palliative medicine Dr Donna Wakefield and poet and social literary practitioner Dr Siobhan Campbell.
Mel McEvoy said: “I was so pleased that staff, during one of the most difficult times in the life of the NHS, wanted to make a contribution that would help, support and encourage other NHS staff to keep going.
“This book reveals something of the depth of our staff’s personalities and gives us some insight into what they bring to their work on a day-to-day basis.
“I believe the creative process is crucial to our wellbeing. It can fill up our resilience when it is under pressure and enables us to see the meaning in the work we do.”
The pilot project has since been hailed as a success by participants and pioneers alike, and has even been nominated for recognition at this year’s Bright Ideas in Health Awards.