Reflect Recover Renew – Making sense of rapid emergent change


COVID-19 presented rapid emergent change and significant disruption for health and social care teams. This has impacted in many ways both personally and professionally, writes Elaine Birkitt.

Elaine Birkitt
Elaine Birkitt

Identifying a need to make sense of these experiences for teams, HSE Organisational Development – Improving Change Capacity created a resource to support teams to consider what has changed, identify what we have learned from our COVID-19 experiences and identifywhat actions are needed now to help recover together. This resource is called Reflect Recover Renew and is now available to health and social care teams for use. 

COVID-19 continues to have a profound impact on our lives. For health and social care teams it has reshaped the delivery of services so rapidly that it is important we take time to identify what that really means in a COVID era and look towards collective recovery with people at the centre.

In 2020, OD-Improving Change Capacity within the HSE pivoted in response to COVID-19 and supported Call Centres and Contact Tracing teams. Over time it was clear there was an emerging need for teams in all services to have conversations about the impact changes were having and be supported to gather the learning from crisis responses and identify what supports would be needed for teams and services to recover and resume. A suite of practical resources was designed based on the Health Services Change Guide, aimed at supporting teams to have those reflective conversations, have a structured approach to capturing the learning and co-design what supports were needed. The development was informed by listening to stories from colleagues right across the health service on their experiences of COVID-19 and the adaptations needed both professionally and personally, along with the impact to service delivery.

The resources were first launched in June 2020 and virtual sessions were facilitated with teams right across the country. The feedback from the sessions was very positive and participants described their experiences of working during COVID and their outlook on the future following the opportunity to reflect. Many spoke about the reassurance provided from hearing colleagues share similar feelings and experiences and deepening their connection as a team. 

Over a six- month period of engagement data was gathered to enhance the original resources which have now been redesigned to support teams to self-facilitate these reflective conversations with each other. In March 2021 the new resources were launched to enable teams to self-facilitate Reflect Recover Renew team sessions and they are now available online on the HSE website

You may also find Understanding Crisis Response Measures (RSA Future Change Framework) really helpful in supporting service recovery and renewal.

To find out more you can email or follow the Change Guide on twitter @HSEchange_guide.

Elaine Birkitt, Organisation Development and Change Practitioner, Change and Innovation, HSE Health Strategy, HSE, Kells, Co. Meath.