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My Improvement Journey: Vardeep Deogan

Vardeep Deogan shares her journey from Radiographer to Quality Improvement Practitioner; and invites everyone to join her new Sketchnote SIG – and develop this new way of learning and sharing knowledge.

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Vardeep Deogan shares her improvement journey and invites people to join the new Sketchnote Q Special Interest Group (SIG).

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

One of my favourite quotes is from Brené Brown: “Maybe stories are just data with a soul”

During 2014 whilst working as an MRI Radiographer at North Bristol NHS trust the organisation moved location and amalgamated two sites together. There of course had been many years of planning this, but the reality only hit home when we actually moved. We had a new working environment, with four MRI scanners split over two floors in the hospital. As we settled into our new ‘home’, we often complained about how equipment was (dis)organised, that we could never find what we needed when we needed it and how each MRI room was organised differently. After many months of this I remember talking about to a colleague of mine (not from our team) and they suggested that that I have a go at standardising the equipment layout, starting with one MRI room first, getting other team members involved so that the solution worked for all. I didn’t realise it at the time but this was quality improvement.

Not long after this a job came up that I applied for, as a Quality Improvement Practitioner, joining a newly formed team. Using my experiences as described above, I got the job… that was August 2015. Since then the Quality Safety & Improvement Team (QSIT) at North Bristol NHS Trust has become well established and respected and staff know to contact us when embarking on quality improvement.

Vardeep’s first steps in Sketchnoting: the recent School for Change Agents online course

What most inspires you professionally?

I did the ‘School for Change Agents’ online course recently. It’s surprising how much more I remember by taking notes as Sketchnotes, rather than taking conventional notes

One of the best things about working as a Quality Improvement Practitioner is that I now work with a variety of different people across the organisation. No matter the job title or position I am often inspired by the passion and commitment from staff to improve the quality of health and care they deliver. Staff are often working on their improvement projects on top of a full time job, which is really inspirational.

QSIT organised NBT’s first Celebrating Quality Improvement Event on April 13th and it was wonderful to see the breadth and depth of improvement projects taking place across the organisation.

Can you share a hard-won lesson you’ve learnt about what makes for a successful (or unsuccessful) improvement project?
If you had asked me a few months ago which is more powerful hard data or patient stories, when influencing change I probably would of said ‘hard data’. However, a recent experience from working on our project on End of Life Care – the Purple Butterfly Project, has made me think otherwise. This project was in collaboration with the Point of Care Foundation and they were very keen for members of the project team to shadow patients. Admittedly this was not on the top of our ‘to do list’ but we eventually go around to it…..

The power of sharing our patient shadowing stories was unbelievable and influenced many changes thereafter. Sharing our experiences with the Trust Board was particularly beneficial, I remember thinking before I went in to talk to them ‘they will not be interested in this, I have no graphs or data’. I was very wrong….the board were incredibly engaged, interested and keen to offer help. Since then one of my favourite quotes is from Brené Brown: “Maybe stories are just data with a soul”.

What change could we make that would do most to embed continuous improvement in health & care?
Working with such a range of professionals within the organisation, I can see that if we understood each other’s roles better it would open the doors to better communication, break down barriers and misconceptions and close the hierarchical gap. Therefore one change I would like to embed, is introducing a day where we wear a different uniform and walk in someone else’s shoes!

Why did you join Q?

[Sketchnote SIG] You don’t need to be able to draw to join, just an open mind and willing to give it a go… who knows where it will take you!

The quality improvement team is a very small team at NBT, therefore we felt it was important to network with colleagues from other organisations. Working closely with our local AHSN – West of England – encouraged this and joining the Q community was an extension of that,  allowing for UK wide networking. I have benefited so much from being a Q member this last year, especially from the Q visits, which have taught me many new concepts, tools and ways of working. All of which I share back with my colleagues.

Can you tell us about something you’re currently working on that Q members might be able to contribute to?
Working as a quality improvement practitioner has led me to learning many new skills, which suits my personality, one of which is sketchnoting. I’m not an artist, but I do love sketch notes and other infographics used to communicate visually. Recently, with the help of Sophie Bland and Nathalie Delaney at WE AHSN, we have set up a Sketchnote Q special interest group (SIG) with the view to share knowledge and resources and to develop our sketchnoting skills! You don’t need to be able to draw to join, just an open mind and willing to give it a go…who knows where it will take you!
“I did the ‘School for Change Agents’ online course recently. It’s surprising how much more  I remember by taking notes as Sketchnotes, rather than taking conventional notes”.


  1. Love your sketch in particular the shift of power from traditional organogram to spider web structure. I wonder how many organizations can put this in practice and share experiences.

    1. A great question and challenge. Would love to hear of any shared experiences.

  2. Guest

    really positive  and inspiring

  3. Vardeep, Please consider joining the Process Visualization SIG. I think it is aligned with your way of thinking.

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