5/4/19 Week 1
This week I started a new job at Barts Health as the Director of Children’s Nursing, Barts Health provide services for Babies, Children and Young People, at the Royal London, Newham, Whipps Cross, Mile End, St Barts Hospitals and Community Services in Tower Hamlets. I’m also working for City University and the East London Health & Care Partnership for one day a week. It’s certainly a diverse and exciting post!
Over the past year I’ve been juggling this post part time alongside my role at NHS England, I’m incredibly grateful to Caroline Alexander the Chief Nurse there (who tweets as @CAlexanderNHS) for offering me this secondment opportunity back in January 2018, which has led to me stepping back into the provider landscape full time. The flexibility of Directors at NHS England including Neil Churchill @neilgchurchill and Kevin Holton who allowed me to do this was appreciated too.
Throughout my career I’ve focused on issues relating to children and young people. Ensuring we offer them the best opportunities and stable foundations to make a difference in their lives is what matters most to me, it’s my ‘why’, seeing them flourish is the most uplifting experience in the world.
One of the things that attracted me to applying for the Director of Children’s Nursing post full time was the team. When I arrived at Barts Health back in January 2018 I was surrounded by people whose core purpose was also about improving children and young people’s experiences and health outcomes. Yes, there are challenges relating to red tape, limited financial sources, far from perfect environments, yet people have an energy that’s contagious, a desire to work to improve services with a shared purpose of improving the care of the North East London population and beyond. It’s these values that drew me to the team.
Michael West and the Affina Organisational Development team have been working with @NHSBartsHealth for some time. The benefits of this have resulted in time for the Child Health Team to come together, build relationships, reflect on challenges and plan the future. The evidence base that team based coaching improves performance is strong and a series of blogs explores this further https://www.affinaod.com/article/can-achieve-better-team-working-organisation/
The other key element is that people in the organisation talk about and live the Barts Health ‘we care’ values https://www.bartshealth.nhs.uk/values. The aim being is that these values of being: Welcoming; Engaging; Caring; Accountable; Responsive and Equitable are visible in all our interactions to patients, carers and staff. We talked about these values at the Trust induction on my first day, yet as I got out and about this week I’ve seen these values repeatedly brought to life.
Getting IT kit functioning is always a challenge when starting a new job, l was chatting with Spencer as he got my email account up and running on my mobile phone, about why he works in the IT team, to which he answered ‘I help ensure we deliver great patient care, working in the NHS gives me a real purpose to the work I do’.
And then I got to meet public health colleagues based in the Trust and hear about the ‘Horizons programme’ that reaches into schools to connect with young people to offer work experiences, summer schools and careers events. Andrew Attfield @AAttfield talked about his commitment to changing life outcomes through creating pathways into employment for people in local communities.
This tweet from the CEO of Barts Health @A_WilliamsNHS also stood out for me. Project Search offers work placement opportunities to young people with learning disabilities to help them gain experience, Alwen shared how she’d met the young people at Whipps Cross and seen them grow in confidence since the start of the Project Search programme. These young people are often graduates of NHS neonatal and paediatric services, seeing them gain independence through employment is very special and indeed life changing for them and their families.
Seeing the ‘we care’ values lived has been important and something I’ve been reflecting on in my ‘balcony time’ ie the time I use to try and take a step back and think about the activities happening in the busy day to day. Creating this time to reflect is an issue we explored with Dr Gemma Munro @gemmamunro1 on the Ascend Women’s Leadership programme supported by @NHSLLA, I’m going to try hard to ensure I create this space each week. Writing this blog is part of this process as I commute on my daily train journey as I try to untangle my thoughts. I wonder how many of us carve out balcony time? What do you reflect on?
So my frustrations this week include dropping my personal phone down the loo (expensive and hassle inducing mistake), getting new IT kit up and running (still work in progress), constantly asking myself what are the ‘must dos’ here and focusing on that.
It’s been a muddle-some week in many ways, but it’s also been one framed by values, making me question and challenge myself ‘am I living them….?‘