27th July 2017

Leadership programme reflection

Earlier this month I was fortunate enough to be chosen to participate in the leadership programme run by The Council of Deans. The programme was set out to provide 150 healthcare students the opportunity to further develop their leadership skills through a 3-4 month long learning programme providing training in the essential knowledge and skills required for future healthcare leaders.

Prior to starting the programme, I was looking forward to meeting likeminded students who have a passion for improving care across all healthcare specialities, which included student Midwives, Nurses (adult, mental health and children’s), Radiographers, Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists.

The beginning of the programme included icebreaking activities, writing a letter to my future self about my career and personal goals and a task which involved gathering into small groups of 5 and looking at individual case studies and feeding back to the group. Our group scenario considered the advantages and disadvantages of a leader being too engaged or too disengaged. We concluded that the perfect leader would be able to master the art of both; being engaged enough to be able to provide compassionate support to staff but exercise an element of disengagement in order to be objective.

The weekend involved several presentations from inspiring leaders. Ismalia De Sousa, a clinical nurse specialist in stroke, provided us with an inspiring talk about her journey into a leadership role and also discussed the importance of resilience. This involves developing confidence, having effective social support, being able to adapt and having a sense of purpose such as setting and striving for personal and professional goals.

Adele Nightingale, a senior lecturer in healthcare leadership practice discussed the need for health care practitioners to have a ‘bounce back ability’ and made the group consider our own emotional intelligence and personal resilience.

Yvonne Sawbridge, another inspirational leader discussed managing burnout within the profession which made me recognise that a profession within healthcare can be emotionally challenging at times and therefore as human beings we need to top up our own ‘emotional bank’. We need to care for ourselves before we can effectively care for others; this may lead to increased staff wellbeing.

The leadership programme so far has provided me with the opportunity to network, collaborate with other students and inspire each other. It has also given me an insight into what a leadership role entails and has provided me with in-depth knowledge which is needed for a career as a future leader in which I can begin to build on over the course of the leadership programme. I have also learnt to seize every opportunity that comes my way as a student and always take a proactive approach in my learning.

To be a leader, you do not have to be within a management role as I now understand that every practitioner requires leadership skills such as prioritising care, acting as an advocate for women and their families and collaborating within the MDT.

I am looking forward to being assigned and meeting my leadership mentor who could be a current leader within healthcare, policy maker or within a governing body such as the NMC or RCM. I am greatly appreciative for this opportunity and look forward to what the rest of the programme will entail.

Amy Reid