From the frontline to the field

Retreats for NHS workers 

What is Out in the Field?

Out in the Field is an initiative providing retreats for NHS frontline staff.

It was set up to support staff in prioritising their wellbeing. To give them time to relax, restore and reconnect as a group and to up-skill them to be active participants in their own health care, providing a tool-kit of strategies to deal with stress when working in high pressure jobs.

Each retreat is facilitated by experienced teachers and forest bathing guides and designed around the specific needs of a team or group. The core practices of the programme are mind-body practices following the Sophrology methodForest Bathing and nutrition and reflection practices. 

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Who are we working with?

This year, working in close partnership with Dr Jane Stevens – Medical Director for Wellbeing and Workforce at Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust, we have run 27 retreats and worked with 400 staff from the Darent Valley Hospital. 

Teams who attended retreats between February and November 2022 have had a 100% positive net promoter score i.e. Everyone who has attended has answered yes to the question:  Would you recommend this retreat to a colleague? We are currently working on our impact evaluation and looking at extending the programme next year. 

We have also worked with Kings College Hospital London, the charity You okay, Doc? and Maidstone Hospital.  

Purpose

The purpose of Out in the Field is to host nature retreats that help NHS frontline workers relax, restore and reconnect for the benefit of their own wellbeing and the wellbeing of the health and care system. 

This means that we:

  • Support the mental health and wellbeing of healthcare staff
 
  • Offer a retreat space in nature, that enables participants to experience nature connection practices and mind body practices
 
  • Facilitate reflective sharing, listening and learning
 
  • Provide participants with tangible and specific mind/body practices, which can be effectively utilised in their daily lives
 
  • Support their physiological health with nutrient- dense menus that support energy levels, gut and immune health

Why it is important

The programme is an opportunity to appreciate and value staff and provide lasting support of staffs’ wellbeing and mental health.  

It provides attendees with self-care practices for managing stress, whilst group work enables reflection, understanding and communication. 

 

Vision

So far the retreats have been hosted by The Quadrangle – a not-for-profit social enterprise and retreat centre located in the Darent Valley, Kent, 40minutes from London. 

Our aim is to develop partnerships with NHS Trusts, venues and facilitators around the country. 

“Every NHS trust needs a Quadrangle” Dr Gillian Orrow

With thanks

Thanks to all those who contributed to the Out in the Field Crowdfunder campaign in 2021 and the funders who supported the development of NHS retreats after the first covid lockdown in 2020: 
And the team who piloted the first retreats and have supported the development of this project from the early days Eve Annecke, Jo-Anne Nighy, Jon Ottley, Andy Somerville, Rachel Fenn, Roberta O’Callaghan, Matt Murphy, Claire Watson, Photographer and NHS worker Glenn Dene and Sam Rowe at Honeybells Tents and Events.
 

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