In the last couple of weeks, I started a secondment as the Clinical Project Manager within our hospital’s Transformation Team. A role that I would not have even considered applying for a year ago.
The role involves providing clinical support and leading on some of the Trust’s Transformation/Cost improvement projects. In particular, I am working on three CQUIN’s (Commissioning for Quality and Innovation National goals), namely:
“Increase flu vaccination uptake rate in frontline staff”
“Preventing ill health through risky behaviours”
“Measuring and improving Sepsis screening and antibiotic administration”.
But how did I come to take this step out of the pharmacy into the world of Project Management and Transformation?
Work gives us a sense of identity. We define ourselves by our work:
“I am a pharmacist/pharmacy technician/dispensary manager.”
We know what we need to do and what is expected of us. Thus, it can be daunting to think about changing our career path and looking at vacancies that come up in a different a field. Taking that leap of faith into doing something different to the normal career progression. It occasionally takes someone else to point out what we have actually been achieving within our current job role and those things we are excelling in. I am often told I undervalue my own abilities and contributions.
Every day, in my previous role as Medicines Management and Pharmacy Governance Technician, I was involved in patient safety and service improvement. This role involved completing business cases, auditing and reporting etc. So essentially, I haven’t taken that big a leap of faith. Instead, I am just applying what I have learnt while working on these “projects” in and around my role as a pharmacy technician.
I have only been in post for a month but from the beginning, I have been caught up in the whirlwind that is the “Flu Campaign” #flufighter #SavingLivesThroughPrevention. Apologies for the flu shout-outs but as I said, I’m caught up!
To date, the campaign has been a resounding success, with about 50% of the frontline staff being vaccinated in the first three weeks.
My new role has previously been filled by nursing staff and this means that at times I am hitting brick walls. For example, due to a piece of old legislation, despite having had all the relevant training, I am not able to administer the flu vaccines without a personalised prescription for each individual. These set backs can either be seen as limiting or as an opportunity to start to think outside the box. In this case, we have implemented a “Peer vaccinating strategy” and this has been key to our success. I would like to say a massive thank you to all the Flu Champions! #ProudofThePaget
Because of the flu campaign, I have only been able to spend a little time on the “Risky Behaviour” and “Sepsis” CQUINs. However now that the campaign is up running, I can redirect more of my attention to them. So, I am brimming with excitement at the prospect of getting stuck into facilitating programs to increase patient uptake of smoking cessation and alcohol misuse services. These two vices propagate so many life-changing illnesses, which inadvertently places additional, preventable, burdens on the NHS.
On the Sepsis front; I have been mostly involved with audit work and touched base with our Out-Reach Team and clinical lead, who are integral to the fight against Sepsis in our Trust. From here we can identify any areas’ where there is a need for further education and potentially launch a fresh sepsis awareness campaign.
At times it has felt like a massive change of pace. The work I’m involved with is at the root of massive problems affecting the sustainability of the NHS. I have been to Trust executive and non-executive board meetings (sometimes dressed as a bee, in the name of Flufighting!). I even have a hospital board member shadowing me later this week to learn more about my role.
So for me, whilst this is currently only a six month secondment, in the long run whether I choose to continue bringing my pharmacy experience and perspective to the wider roles within hospital management or I take back these skills to the pharmacy to work on project management within our department I strongly believe this is not only development for myself but for the context of what a pharmacy technician role can extend to.
“The future is not some place we are going, but one we are creating. The paths are not to be found, but made” -John Schaar
Jonathan Yazbek is the Clinical Project Manager at the James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust helping improve patient safety and care. He is married with three kids.
Follow Jonathan on Twitter @JontyAtThePaget