Nurse-led plant initiative improving staff wellbeing

Rebecca kenny
Rebecca kenny • 5 July 2023

A nursing times article about a staff well-being project that involved nursing staff receiving plants to care for in non-clinical spaces. The article describes how nurses and their colleagues at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust have been gifted plants to look after in non-clinical spaces at work in a project aimed at boosting staff wellbeing.

The article explains how Ms Henton-Waller came up with the idea for the Green Plant Project during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, after she began to collect plants with her wife. After realising the joy that looking after plants at home had brought the pair during the pandemic, Ms Henton-Waller realised the positive impact greener spaces could have on NHS staff at work. Initially, Ms Henton-Waller arranged for some large plants to be placed in the main reception area at Torbay Hospital.

As a result, staff began to tell her how much they enjoyed looking at the plants when they were on shift. This prompted Ms Henton-Waller to explore how to expand green spaces at the site, and with the help of the trust’s sustainability lead, she secured a grant from NHS Charities Together to fund the Green Plant Project. Communications were rolled out at the trust to see how many staff members wanted to receive a free plant to look after while at work. The level of engagement was a lot more than anticipated and, after receiving more than 1,400 requests for plants, she became determined to source enough for every volunteer.

Samantha Seymour, a senior sister at the trust, explains in the article that the plants had “really brightened up” her unit. She continues “We’ve had some feedback from staff and patients coming in about how it’s really nice having the plants on the reception, and how it brings colour to our department,” she said. Ms Seymour added that the trust had separately been running classes each week to promote staff wellbeing, and some sessions had included group flower potting.

The chief nursing officer for England Dame Ruth May announced in 2019 that 14 trusts across the country would be enrolled on the programme, which requires organisations to meet six standards that are conducive to excellent nurse working conditions.

Resource author(s)
Ella Devereux
Resource publishing organisation(s) or journal
Nursing Times
Resource publication date
March 2023

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