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Jordan Napier, Staff Development Officer at NHS Teachers, explains how she first got involved in improvement and invites people to join her Educators as Improvers Special Interest Group, where she hopes that Q members can share their experiences, challenges and resources to improve learning environments situated within clinical environments in the UK. (See the full list if SIGs here)

Give people the protected time and headspace to have those creative conversations

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

I was working as a receptionist in an outpatient clinic when I realised that a lot of our admin systems seemed to be set up for the benefit of our staff rather than our patients, and I started to think about how we could make things more efficient with the patients in mind. I then spotted a postgrad course in Quality Improvement and used that learning to shape my first improvement project. Since then I’ve worked in various roles, not always with an obvious and specific improvement remit, but always with a drive to make things better for the service users.

Jordan Napier (centre) with Susan Giel, NHS Liaison Officer, University of Dundee Medical School (left) and Dr Susie Schofield, Senior Lecturer, Centre for Medical Education, Dundee (right); at the 15th anniversary of ‘Getting Started’, their booklet series aimed at supporting the development of teaching skills of clinical educators.

What most inspires you professionally?

Other people’s enthusiasm and drive to do the best they can for their patients and their students, even when the world they’re working in is stretched and chaotic.

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

The people who ‘own’ the service need to be the ones driving the change and pulling in the support for improvement.

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

Give people the protected time and headspace to have those creative conversations that lead to bright ideas, and ultimately huge successes.

Moving away for learning how to use tools, and honing our healthy habits appeals to me

Why did you join Q?

I think my enthusiasm about QI was re-kindled by Bill Lucas’s Habits of an Improver paper – moving away for learning how to use tools and honing our healthy habits appeals to me. I’d love to widen my network of folk who are also keen on honing their habits, which I think Q has in bucket loads.

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

In June, I took on a new role as Staff Development lead for Dundee’s School of Medicine. I’m passionate about making our clinical environments as effective as they can be as learning environments and supporting our NHS clinicians in their role as educators. I’ve set up a SIG entitled ‘Educators as Improvers’, to bring together Q members with a role or interest in teaching and training, to share ideas for how we meld the worlds of education and improvement together for the benefit of our healthcare students, as well as our patients.


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