Bitesized teaching

Bitesized Teaching set up on the ward in Chesterfield and leading for the last 6 years ago. It has now has been spread to lots of different wards across Yorkshire and Humber. It have been taken on by Health Education England and has a dedicated website.

Bitesized teaching is an innovative way for improving physical health knowledge for clinical staff working in mental health settings.

Mental health staff have limited opportunities to learn about medical topics, its difficult for ward staff to leave the ward for long periods of time and training budgets are not an infinite resource

Bitesized Teaching is an initiative that has worked successfully in Yorkshire and Derbyshire Mental Health Services for the last 6 years.

It involves the delivery of high impact, 10 minute tutorials on physical health topics, which take place once a week in the ward lunchtime handover period. This means that staff do not have to leave the ward to attend a teaching session and that with both the incoming staff and outgoing staff at the ward handover, tutorial attendance is optimised.

To simplify organisation and delivery, Bitesized Teaching does not utilise teaching presentation software and the main delivery style is discussion based, with most tutors organising the session around prompts and cues from a single A4 handout.

There is a simple delivery structure to Bitesized Teaching which is:

  • Signs
  • Symptoms
  • Causes
  • Basic ward level management

Junior Doctors (either core trainees or foundation doctors) are encouraged to be creative in the delivery of each session – they can use pictures, diagrams and equipment to aid what is primarily a discursive based tutorial.

The tutorials are aimed at meeting the needs of Nursing Staff and Healthcare Assistants and are delivered by Junior Doctors once a week. It has already proven to be an effective and efficient way of enhancing knowledge of common physical problems in mental health settings in the Yorkshire and Derbyshire locality.

With the support of Health Education England, it is now an initiative which has been rolled out to the rest of the country.

Understanding physical health in the context of mental health care represents a unique set of challenges.

There can often be barriers between physical and mental healthcare which can detract from satisfactory healthcare delivery, particularly for patients with severe mental illness. Whilst most Trust’s have protocols regarding physical health monitoring for patients with serious mental illness, there are still gaps in knowledge regarding physical health complaints outside of this framework. Bitesized Teaching has been designed with this specific need in mind.

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