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Don Berwick maintains that we have two jobs: to deliver the best care we can and secondly to constantly improve the care we deliver.

I’m sure that you already do the first, and that you are pretty good at it. And whilst you may already be well on your way to the second, I wonder, at what point you began that journey? Was it an active decision, or did it just creep up on you?

I began life as a pharmacist – it was going to be my career for life. But about 10 years ago I figured that there was more to learn, both in and out of work. And being someone who loves a good challenge – I left my medicines on the counter and embarked on not one, but two new challenges at about the same time.

I chose to learn about Quality Improvement and riding motorbikes. I knew very little about either – and didn’t suspect for one moment that there would be any connection between the two. Both journey’s had their highs and lows – and when the Health Foundation offered an opportunity to reflect on my journey and share it with my colleagues in the Q community, I stepped up to that challenge too.

In doing this I unearthed some of the how’s and why’s that I’ve learnt so far in my adventures – and here are my top tips:

• Be willing to change the way you THINK about yourself and the world around you
• Find people who know a lot more than you and learn as much as you can from them
• Hold your nerve – even when you feel exposed, unsure, or scared
• Seek and accept help from colleagues, peers, coaches you meet along the way

• Push the boundaries of your knowledge – become more curious and more courageous
• Get some firsts under your belt to boost your confidence
• Become skillful in creating the conditions to take risks and stay safe
• Establish a new norm and make failure your friend – a way of learning fast

• Work where YOU can make a difference
• Celebrate your achievements
• Embrace the complexity of healthcare
• Keep connected with people who inspire you

AND share your journey with others too!

If you’d like to hear a bit more about my life-long adventure in learning, check out my PechaKucha presentation below:


  • Frances Hopes | 21 Dec 2017

    Sometimes it just takes someone to convey a simple message in simple language to help you regain your focus. Humbling and inspiring in equal measure. Plus now I've learnt what a Pecha Kucha is too.

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