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How – and why – did you first get involved in improvement, and what has been your journey since then?

I became involved in improvement by accident! The Quality Improvement Project Manager was leaving and I was asked to cover their role until a person could be recruited. I loved the role so much that I applied when it was advertised, and luckily for me I was successful. That was over 15 years ago now!

Since then I have had the privilege to work with many organisations and teams, both nationally and locally, supporting them with quality improvement. Over the years I have worked with secondary care, community services, primary care, social care, and CCGs.

What inspires you most professionally?

I am most inspired when I see true patient and carer involvement in improvement work.

I am most inspired when I see true patient and carer involvement in improvement work.

Can you share a hard-won lesson you’ve learnt about what makes for a successful (or unsuccessful) improvement project?

One of the areas which springs to mind is the importance of keeping people informed. Obviously, all those affected by a change should be involved as much as possible, but those who are not part of the project team may still feel anxious about the change. My hard-won lesson is that even if you don’t think you have anything to say, tell people that, as this is far more reassuring than saying nothing at all. It’s often the not knowing which people worry about most.

What change could we make that would do most to embed continuous improvement in health care?

Get everyone to collect relevant data, and then look at it. Looking at data as a group is a great way to start discussions as to what is really happening within a process or system. Not all teams like collecting data but they do love it when they can see that all their hard work has paid off!

Looking at data as a group is a great way to start discussions as to what is really happening within a process or system.

Why did you join Q?

I thought it would be a fantastic opportunity to meet like-minded people, and to hear about their improvement projects and how they have approached these.

What new connections (and collaborations) have you made as a result of joining the Q community – and what have you learnt so far?

Through the Q randomised coffee trials and Q events I have met lots of new people with similar interests. By being a Q member I have met people who I would never have crossed paths with otherwise. I seem to learn something new from everyone I speak to! I have also developed stronger connections with Q members locally.

Can you tell us about something you’re currently working on- that Q members might be able to contribute to?

Myself and Susy Cook have recently set up a Special Interest Group based on the IHI Framework for Improving Joy in Work. The group is for anyone interested in this topic, and will hopefully be a great forum for sharing and learning from each other. I have also recently enrolled in the IHI’s virtual course on Improving Joy in Work and hope the learning I gain from this can feed into this group.

If you would like to be involved please join our Special Interest Group. We are also holding a virtual chat on 4 June from 4pm – 5pm. Please email me directly and I will forward joining details to you nearer the time.

Everyone is welcome!

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