28 Oct

Ward Stars FAQs

For managers

a. Taking part

1. How do we join Ward Stars and how much does it cost to take part?

Registration isn’t required to join Ward Stars and it’s free for our members to take part!

2. What types of mental health wards can take part in Ward Stars?

Ward Stars has been developed with the full range of ward settings in mind.

3. Are any qualifications required to undertake Ward Stars?

No qualifications are required. Ward Stars can be undertaken by HCAs who do or do not have related (or unrelated) qualifications.

4. Should Ward Stars be mandatory on my ward?

Nothing in our resources is compulsory. We hope you want to get involved!

5. What’s the best way to use Ward Stars?

Please use Ward Stars however you like, e.g. as an opportunity for HCAs and others to reflect on their work and to gain Star certificates and feel validated, to help structure supervisions and appraisals and even in recruitment.

b. Benefits of taking part

6. What will HCAs gain from doing Ward Stars?

We hope they’ll feel inspired, motivated and acknowledged for the fab work they do. Ward Stars provides a helpful structure for professional development. The HCA completes Evidence of Achievement sheets which relate to each of the Stars. This structure can be used to build up a portfolio of the work they feel most proud of and that patients particularly appreciate. Along with the Evidence of Achievement sheets, the HCA can gain Star certificates for each of the seven Stars and an eighth ‘Super Ward Star’ certificate upon successfully completing all of the Stars. This will support and reinforce their career progression and further development opportunities.

One of the aims of Ward Stars is that it will enhance the status and reputation of the HCA role. In turn, we hope this will be a huge confidence-boost for some of the most important members of staff who care for some of the most unwell and vulnerable people.

7. What will the ward gain from doing Ward Stars?

We hope Ward Stars will have a noticeable energising and morale-enhancing effect on the ward. A happier and more fulfilling workplace for staff, and a happier and more therapeutic environment for patients.

c. Process

8. Do HCAs have to complete all seven of the Stars?

HCAs can complete as many of the seven Stars as they feel able to but we hope they’ll want to complete all seven over time.

9. Can staff members who aren’t HCAs take part in Ward Stars?

Ward Stars has been designed for HCAs because they often have the most contact with patients but are invariably the least (formally) qualified and acknowledged. Having said that, if you feel a member of staff who isn’t a HCA might benefit from Ward Stars then fantastic. Anyone who would find it useful should be encouraged to take part, including peer support workers, volunteers, house keepers, doctors and nurses.

10. How is the HCA assessed?

The HCA will complete an Evidence of Achievement sheet for each of the Stars. These sheets provide an opportunity to reflect on the activities they have selected to focus on, and form the associated evidence and evaluation. The ward manager assesses progress and eligibility for each Star.

11. What do you mean by the word ‘activity’?

When we use the word ‘activity’ we are referring to anything the HCA does on the ward: from escorting patients on walks around the grounds, doing observations, to delivering ward activities.

12. Who assesses and accredits the Evidence of Achievement sheets?

Ward Managers should read each submitted sheet and decide if what has been provided qualifies for each Star.

13. What should I do if I’m unsure if a completed Evidence of Achievement sheet qualifies or not? How do I know that a submission is eligible?

Look at the worked example – speak to a colleague who is taking part in Ward Stars. We’d encourage you to err on the side of eligibility. If you’re really stuck get in touch with us!

14. Do the Evidence of Achievement sheets need to be externally verified? How do I know that an Evidence of Achievement sheet meets the mark?

The Evidence of Achievement sheets don’t need to be verified by anyone outside of your organisation. You may however wish to discuss with another Ward Manager a sheet you are not sure about. And it will certainly help if colleagues on other wards are doing Ward Stars as you can then discuss ideas, challenges and achievements.

15. There’s a ‘patient sponsor’ section on the Evidence of Achievement sheet. Our patients aren’t well enough to give a comment. Can this be completed by someone else?

If getting a comment from a patient is unachievable or you feel it isn’t appropriate for whatever reason, this section can be completed by a patients’ carer, friend or family member, or alternatively another member of the ward team.

16. Does Ward Stars have to be completed in a specific amount of time? How long does Ward Stars take to do? Are there any deadlines?

No, there are not time limits or deadlines. You may however, agree a set of milestones with the HCA to help keep them focused and motivated.

17. How do I obtain the Star certificates?

All seven of the Star certificates are included in the online kit, along with an eighth ‘Super Ward Star’ certificate. These can be printed and presented to the HCA when you feel they are eligible. Everything you need, including the Star certificates, can be downloaded from the downloads page.

18. Who presents the HCA with the Star certificates and how?

That’s up to you. It may be appropriate for a patient to present them. That would be great, but failing that, it could be you or even the Chief Executive!

19. How should we celebrate the completion of each Star?

This is also up to you and the HCA. Some wards may want to have a full-on ceremony with cakes, banners, celebration music and a speech by the CEO! Some staff may be keen to have their success more widely known. You may wish to get in touch with your comms team as they are always looking for good news stories. Perhaps the thing to do is to ask the HCA how they want to celebrate their achievement (if at all) and take it from there.

20. How can we evaluate the impact Ward Stars is having on the ward?

The completion of each Star will help you build up a great collection of impact evidence, how you translate and compile this is your choice. It’s likely that you’re already doing some evaluation of patient experience and outcomes and your Patient Experience team or Improvement and Development department can help you include Ward Stars in your evaluation.

d. Supporting HCAs

21. How can I best support the HCA doing Ward Stars?

Ward Stars fits in with the professional support and development processes managers include in regular supervision. You might want to set up occasional extra meetings to help guide the HCA.

22. Are there any ways in which HCAs doing Ward Stars can support and inspire each other?

That would be brilliant! We love the idea of Ward Stars buddies and Ward Star groups and any means of peer support.

23. Are there any ways to keep track of how the HCA is doing with Ward Stars?

You’ll hopefully have a good sense of your staff’s progress with Ward Stars through supervision, appraisals, and looking at their Ward Stars folder with them.

e. Relationship to other initiatives

24. How does Ward Stars relate to Star Wards?

Apart from ‘Ward Stars’ being a bit of a wordplay on ‘Star Wards’? Well, Ward Stars is a kind of extension of Star Wards, another way of supporting staff in their demanding work with patients. If you’re already doing Star Wards, we hope you’ll find Ward Stars is a real boost for HCAs. If Ward Stars is your first introduction to Star Wards, we hope you find the links with Wardipedia informative and inspiring and that you’ll want to use our other resources and initiatives.

25. How does Ward Stars fit with our organisational values and goals?

We hope Ward Star’s structure – IMAGINE – reflects your organisational values and goals.

26. How does Ward Stars relate to performance appraisals, supervision and staff development plans?

You can use Ward Stars as a structure for supervision and professional development.

27. How is Ward Stars different to a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ)?

Whereas NVQs are work-based awards that are achieved through assessment and training, Ward Stars is a catalytic process which aims to inspire, acknowledge and validate HCAs. Ward Stars is a more relaxed and less standardized process than NVQs so that it is easier to fit into hectic ward life.

28. How does Ward Stars fit in with national occupational standards?

Ward Stars relates to official competencies such as the Ten Essential Shared Capabilities, Knowledge and Skills Framework and National Occupational Standards in an informal way. Staff can cross-reference the criteria for Ward Stars with these to validate and evidence their skills.

29. How does Ward Stars fit in with The 6 Cs?

The ‘6 Cs’ set out by NHS England form a strategy for a culture of compassionate care. The Cs are: Compassion, Courage, Competency, Commitment, Care (quality / safety), Communication. These values are of course also integral to Ward Stars – and Star Wards!

f. Help!

30. If we get stuck, can we contact someone for advice and inspiration?

It might be an idea to have a chat with other wards in your Trust that are involved in Ward Stars. And please do check out Wardipedia – there’s tons of inspiration and ideas there.

Of course, we love hearing from staff who are using our resources. Give us a buzz or write us an email here.

For Health Care Assistants

a. Benefits of taking part

31. Why should I undertake Ward Stars – what’s in it for me?

If you’re anything like a lot of HCAs, you’re probably quite modest when it comes to your fantastic skills. And unfortunately due to the daily challenges and hectic nature of the ward, your brilliance probably sometimes gets overlooked. We believe you deserve to be acknowledged and applauded for your unquestionable positive contribution to patients’ lives. We hope Ward Stars helps give you a sense of achievement and satisfaction and an encouraging boost. An additional aim of Ward Stars is that it will enhance the status and reputation of the HCA role so that others recognise what an enormously skilled and demanding role you play.

Ward Stars provides an inspirational structure for professional reflection and development. Do please use the process as a way to build up a portfolio of evidence for the sheer pleasure of it or to support your career plans. As you progress through Ward Stars you’ll build up a portfolio of evidence and corresponding Star certificates.

32. Will I gain a recognised qualification once I have completed Ward Stars?

It depends what is meant by ‘recognised’. Star Wards and Ward Stars are certainly nationally recognised and appreciated, and the Full Monty award has become established as a very validating acknowledgement of a ward’s high quality of patient care. Ward Stars has the backing of the Royal College of Nursing among others. It is very likely that the completion of Ward Stars will support your gaining of related courses and qualifications.

b. Process

33. How will I find time to do Ward Stars; I already have a really full-on job!? Does Ward Stars have to be completed in a specific amount of time?

Ward Stars has purposely been designed to be light in that the process is about reflecting on your existing skills and competencies which are related to the seven Stars. There are no time-limits or deadlines; take as long as you like to work through the Stars. And do please speak with your manager about having some regular dedicated Ward Stars time if this is possible.

34. Which Star should I focus on first? Do I have to start from the Imagination Star and then work through each one?

The Stars can be worked through in any order. The best way to start may be to pick the one that impacts you the most. Or conversely, you can start at Imagination and work through each one.

35. The Evidence of Achievement sheets ask me to reflect on the skills I am using. How do I work out what these are?

A good place to start is with the Superskills list. The HCA role requires a HUGE range of skills and qualities – too many for anyone to recall! The ‘practice context’ list is also a useful prompt for considering the skills you use in different situations.

36. I’ve got an example of an activity I’m proud of, running a dynamic Olympics week in 2012, but that’s obviously not possible as a ‘frequent’ activity! Can I use this example?

Thanks for a great question! And a really inspiring example which certainly meets the other factors of relevance and impact. You’d need to describe how the impact, rather than the activities of the week, have been sustained – eg perhaps there’s been an increase in physical activity on the ward. And it would help if you could give an example or two of similar (albeit smaller-scale!) activities you’ve been involved with that have been on-going eg social or therapeutic groups.

37. Is it okay to reflect on a joint activity, i.e. an activity that other staff are also delivering?

Yes, that’s absolutely fine. Simply reflect on your own contribution to it.

38. Are there are guidelines for evidence submissions? How do I know that the activity I am doing is appropriate?

When completing evidence sheet, please consider how the contact and activity you are reflecting on is:

• Relevant to this Star – eg for the Activities Star, how they support patient activities.
• Frequent – happens regularly
• Impactful – is having a positive effect on patients and staff.
• Sustainable – it will be possible to continue the activity or practice

39. Can I use the same activity to provide evidence for more than one Star?

Good question. Yes, no problem with this, but please reflect on how each aspect of it relates to each Star.

40. I’m unsure which Evidence of Achievement sheet I should complete for the activity I am doing.

Don’t worry too much about this. Trust your own judgment and have a read of the introduction to each Star to see if the activity is relevant. If you are still unsure, have a chat with your ward manager.

41. Where should I keep examples, notes, pictures etc which I’ll need to help me complete the Evidence of Achievement Sheet?

You’ll need a Ward Stars folder to store everything in. This will also be a very feel-good place to remind yourself of the incredible range of skills and qualities you use day in day out.
You can put in the folder examples of work, activities, relationships etc you feel particularly proud of. These can be in note form, photos, doodles, quotes – anything which helps record how your experiences are contributing to being eligible for the Star you’re working on.

42. How do I know I am ready to complete an Evidence of Achievement sheet?

You’ll know you’re ready when you can answer, with evidenced examples, all the questions on the sheet. You’ll have been discussing progress with your ward manager all along, and they’ll be able to give their view on when you’ve got sufficient examples.

43. Who should the Evidence of Achievement sheets be submitted to?

Your Ward Manager.

44. Where can I find information about best practice, inspiration for activities and other useful resources and links?

Wardipedia has all this – and more! There is also a resources/links feature on the Ward Stars website.

45. How does it work with the Star certificates?

Once your ward manager has (joyously!) agreed that you are eligible for a particular Star, they can then print off and sign the (rather lovely) Star certificate.

c. Previous qualifications

46. Are any previous qualifications required to undertake Ward Stars?

No qualifications are required. Ward Stars can be undertaken by HCAs who do or do not have related (or unrelated) qualifications.

d. Help and support

47. I’m stuck for activity ideas! Where I can get support?

Don’t feel stuck! Take a look at Wardipedia!

Speak with your Ward Manager and colleagues who are taking part in Ward Stars. You may even be able to set up a Ward Stars group that meets regularly.

48. I’ve got a question that isn’t answered in the FAQs. What should I do?

Again, it might also be an idea to have a chat with other wards in your Trust that are involved in Ward Stars. And please do check out Wardipedia – there’s tons of inspiration and ideas there.

You are very welcome to contact us – we love hearing from members! Give us a buzz or write us an email here.