Skip to content

Q logo

Yitka (left) with fellow Q member Susy Cook. Yitka and Susy have recently set up the Developing Research Capacity in Quality Improvement SIG.

Yitka Graham (see Directory profile), Senior Lecturer in Public Health, University of Sunderland, shares her improvement journey and invites Q members (and others) to join the Q special interest group on Developing Research Capacity in Quality Improvement (see list of SIGs).

How – and why? –  did you first get involved in improvement; and what has been your journey since then?
I have always been interested in the patient perspective of healthcare, and felt there was a gap in how they can contribute to improving health services.  Their experiences need to be heard and be part of improvement initiatives.  My PhD was in patient experiences of adjusting to life after bariatric surgery; the patient experience perspective is not as widely understood as the surgical outcomes and I wanted to redress this balance.  My research has shown that there are complex social aspects of adjusting to life after bariatric surgery, and this needs to be implemented as part of care pathways to improve patient support, which I am doing at present. I am also working on adapting this framework into other clinical specialities where the patient perspective needs to be raised to further improve care.

Together Susy and I aim to create an open and nurturing environment in which to offer support, guidance and to share ideas amongst Q members with an interest in research

What most inspires you professionally?
The patients and the healthcare professionals I work with are my inspiration. I take a very collaborative approach to research with patients and we work together closely together all stages of our research projects.

Can you share a hard-won lesson you’ve learnt about what makes for a successful (or unsuccessful) improvement project.
You have to believe what you are doing will make a difference, to be tenacious and keep going, no matter how hard things seem.  It is important to be aware of understanding organisational culture in relation to influencing change. Changing mind-sets and cultures is often the most difficult aspect of improvement work and you need to be resilient, listen, support and encourage others to be a part of the process.

What change could we make that would do most to embed continuous improvement in health and care?
I believe that continuous improvement is a philosophy that we need to subscribe to and embed in our day to day work. We need to view improvement and change as a positive process and encourage others to have the same perspective.  If more people adopted this philosophy and it was part of the organisational culture, this would help to embed continuous improvement in health and care.

I joined Q to be a part of a dynamic think tank committed to raising the profile of quality improvement in health. I want to make a positive contribution, learn and share best practices with others.

Why did you join Q?
I joined Q to be a part of a dynamic think tank committed to raising the profile of quality improvement in health.  I want to make a positive contribution, learn and share best practices with others.

What new connections (and collaborations) have you made as a result of joining the Q community – and what have you learnt so far?
I have connected with colleagues in other Trusts in the North East and North Cumbria whom I knew through my various roles, but through our links to Q, we are having positive conversations, linking people up and scoping out potential collaborative projects across a wide range of clinical specialities and services. I am also making contacts nationally through Randomised Coffee Trials, which is a great initiative [Q members can learn more about – and join in with – the monthly Randomised Coffee Trials here].

I’ve learned that the Q Community is a positive, nurturing environment, and joining has opened up networks that may not have been available before.

I am also making contacts nationally through Randomised Coffee Trials, which is a great initiative

Can you tell us about something you’re currently working on (that Q members might be able to help with/feed into/learn from/contribute to).
Together with Susy Cook, we have created a Specialist Interest Group called ‘Developing Research Capacity in Quality Improvement’ [see list of SIGs and their convenors’ contact details], which has just gone live. We are both passionate about improvement research and believe there is significant potential for this. We are aware that many people wish to carry out research, but this is not always a straightforward process, and that sometimes people do not know where to start. Together Susy (see profile) and I (see profile) aim to create an open and nurturing environment in which to offer support, guidance and to share ideas amongst Q members with an interest in research. We will build research capacity through discussion of issues such as, funding, methodology and offer collaboration and networking to those who wish to develop and build research skills.

 

 

 

Leave a comment

If you have a Q account please log in before posting your comment.

Read our comments policy before posting your comment.

* required fields

This will not be publicly visible