“In our experience talking makes work easier and frees up time further down the line.”

Lynn Pearl, Safety Risk and Resilience Manager, Bradford District Care NHS Trust

You can bring people together to talk about patient safety at your Kitchen Table event

What do we mean by a Kitchen Table?

Like the kitchen table at home, it is a place where people can talk openly and honestly, without judgement and, above all, be listened to. A place at the heart of the home and the heart of the family, where we can feel safe and cared for, and are able to have truly open and honest conversations.

It is a place of kindness and respect, and it’s also really SIMPLE to do (you can download our Kitchen Table Handbook here)

Why host a Kitchen Table?

The Kitchen Table is something we’ve tried out a number of times now in a variety of different locations and settings ranging from national conferences to small local events and the response from people who have experienced it has been incredibly positive.

We know that time is a very precious resource so to provide people with the opportunity for them just to stop for a few minutes and really be listened to has been quite profound for the people who have experienced this approach.

But also, as the hosts and the people who did the listening, we heard the most amazing stories and personal experiences from people about their work in keeping people safer which have helped to shape what we do at Sign up to Safety. These conversations have helped connect individuals working on the same thing, connect leaders with their staff and more importantly gone on to help others in the same situations.

If you host your own Kitchen Table, we know you too will hear the most brilliant insight from the people you work with.

And to help you convince others, here is a folder full of just some of the ways a kitchen table can help you

Hosting your Kitchen Table

The first and most important pieces of advice we can give you about planning your Kitchen Table is don’t overthink it and keep it simple. Because it really is simple!

When we planned our first Kitchen Table we did get a bit bogged down worrying too much about anticipating what the conversations would be like, what people would think and making sure people would enjoy it and wondering how we were going to capture what was being said. Obviously this was out of a well-intentioned desire to plan a successful event, but in reality it’s much easier than we realised.

If you provide a genuinely safe space where people are kind and really listen you will have created an experience people will love.

There are some basics steps to getting your Kitchen Table set up :

  • When
    Chose a date and time for your Kitchen Table.
  • Where
    Find a place, a space, a corner, commandeer a bit of the canteen, an area in the entrance to your organisation, a lunchroom or an office then set up some chairs and a table.
  • Tell everyone about it!
    Obviously people will need know about your Kitchen Table and where to find it so to help we have provide two A2 posters to download and print which you can find it. Below we have also provided some suggested tweets and newsletter copy for your internal intranet or staff newsletter or your organisation’s twitter site.
  • Giving something in return
    When we hosted our own Kitchen Tables events, we found that the odd cake, piece of fruit or biscuit is a lovely gift for the people who come and stop by. Especially when we know that people are finding it hard to find time to eat and drink during their working day.  Budgets may not stretch to this, but we find there is often someone who is really keen to show off their baking skills!
  • Be amazed
    Prepare yourself to listen to the amazing stories, experiences and insight your staff and colleagues have to tell you. You won’t be disappointed
  • Capture
    What are you hearing at your Kitchen Table? We don’t suggest going overboard with any kind of minute taking or report writing, this isn’t a meeting after all. How you capture what you’re hearing is entirely up to you and to help we have an A2 sized scribble sheet to download and print to put on your table for people to note down what they’re hearing, key words or questions. Some questions to think about while you’re listening could be:
    • What am I feeling?
    • What am I noticing about what I’m hearing?
    • What has surprised me?

Sharing on social media

Here are some suggested posts you can edit, cut and paste to promote your Kitchen Table:

  • What can we do to improve the safety culture here? Join us at our #kitchentable on DATE and share what you know
  • Take a moment out of your day, pull up a chair and share your ideas with us at our #kitchentable. We’ll put the kettle on!
  • Join us round the #kitchentable to listen to other peoples’ ideas for how to keep staff and patients safer
  • Is there anything we can help you with to keep our staff and patients safer? Head to our #kitchentable on DATE and share with us
  • There are only open, honest and safe conversations round our #kitchentable. Join us and add your two pennies worth on DATE
  • We’d love to hear about what you think would make our patients safer. Grab a chair and join us round the #kitchentable

Your newsletters and intranets (internal communications)

Some suggested copy for internal newsletters, magazines or intranets:

Join us at our Kitchen Table

Conversation is a powerful thing. Done right, it can lay the foundations for a safety culture – helping people to connect, learn and improve. It’s a way of sharing how we feel and what we think.

We will be hosting a Kitchen Table as a way to bring people together and help you share your stories and experiences about what you know about working safely. Like the kitchen table at home, this is a place where people can talk openly and honestly, without judgement and above all be listened to.

For many of us the kitchen table is the heart of the home and the heart of family life, where you can talk with your parents, children, siblings and friends. This is usually a ‘safe place’ where people feel comfortable, can be open, honest and talk about what matters to them, how they are feeling and be listened to in a caring and kind way.

When: XXXX
Where: XXXX