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What is Vocalise?

The aim of Vocalise is to investigate the barriers to change on the ward, as perceived by nursing staff working on acute inpatient wards in the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM), using qualitative and quantitative methods.

Further aims

  • To identify how inpatient nursing staff characterise barriers to change
  • To develop a measure of these barriers
  • To use the measure to identify both the effects of staff perceptions of barriers to change on a planned change and the effects of those ward changes on the staff perceptions. 


Change is a constant theme for staff working in the NHS. Over the last 15 years the mental health services have undergone major operational changes with community services becoming more comprehensive. Acute in-patient services have experienced various knock-on effects including a shortage of nursing staff, pressure to discharge patients (bed shortages) and a consequent increase in frequency of patients with more severe clinical presentations.

Research shows that despite these changes on to wards, inpatient staff aim to work therapeutically with service users by engaging in activities and brief therapies. However, maintaining a balance between this important work and the other day to day aspects of ward management presents staff with numerous challenges.