Building Networks The Power of Randomised Coffee Trials

Posted by: NHS Horizons - Posted on:

Originally published by Leigh Kendall – 7th March 2019

The Nursing Now England and Transforming Perceptions of Midwifery 30 day challenge for the month of March is focusing on taking part in or organising a Randomised Coffee Trial (RCT).  

Building networks of diverse people is vital for anyone seeking to influence change; networks are a powerful tool to drive forward change and transformation. RCTs are a fantastic way to build effective networks, enabling you to meet new people with different knowledge, experiences, and connections. The evidence also highlights that RCTs can also enable meaningful conversations, break down silos, encourage collaboration and even support improved wellbeing. 

So what is a Randomised Coffee Trial? It is a simple but powerful idea that was invented by Nesta, an independent charity. People are paired up at random and given the opportunity to have a cup of coffee and a chat together either physically or virtually. 

The conversations can take place face to face or virtually by phone, Skype, FaceTime, Zoom or Webex, for example.  

We don’t prescribe the topic of the conversation for a RCT – You can talk about absolutely anything – your work, career, family life, aspirations and ambitions for building positive perceptions of your profession. We also don’t prescribe the length of time, but we suggest you set aside 30 minutes and see where the conversation takes you. 

There are three ways nurses and midwives can get involved: 

1) Organise a local RCT 

2) Organise an RCT at a meeting or conference 

3) Sign up to take part in the national RCT 

To make the process as simple as possible, I have recorded a podcast – you can listen to it via the link at the bottom of this post. We have written a guide with lots of tools and templates. If you’re not a nurse or midwife, please feel free to use the information for your own situation. 

While you’re taking part in your RCT, take the opportunity to tweet a picture and tell others about your experience. You can use the hashtags #NursingNowEngland #FutureMidwifery

I must end with the question that I’m always asked… “Do we have to drink coffee?” The answer is no! You can drink anything you like and it doesn’t turn into an RTT if you have tea! 

We do not become transformed alone, we become transformed when we’re in relationship with others. Hahrie Han