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27 September 2011
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Lessons from month one as a Clinical Fellow

It’s week four, day three of the NHS Medical Director's Clinical Fellow Scheme with NHS Kidney Care for me and I’ve been thinking about what I’ve learned so far. For me, the key lessons of this first month have been:

  1. The importance of political awareness
  2. The ‘Future-Engage-Deliver’ approach to leadership (I'll explain)
  3. The value of communities

First up, through role play, then real life and having opportunity to fail personally, I've come to see that knowledge of the people within organisation, their relationships, and the details of how the organisation functions are key. In the leadership arena, like in the patient safety arena, systems matter, human factors matter, and rationality alone is a poor tool for effecting change.

Secondly, ‘Future-Engage-Deliver’ (FED) is an approach to leadership described by Steve Radcliffe in a book with the same name (1). It’s a good read and I think for me it's an excellent approach because it's simple enough to remember and eminently sensible.

In a nutshell, the principle ideas are:

  • Future, the place you as leader wish to take people to,
  • Engagement, the thing you need to do make sure your future's a sensible destination and then take people there, and
  • Delivery, getting the change you want to happen.

Finally, I've been struck by how successful care networks are because of their powerful ability to coordinate considerable latent community resources to improve patient care.

Which brings me to Pycon, a conference I went to on the weekend for Python programmers... Why was I there? I want to improve health care and I believe that one way of doing this is to improve NHS IT. I’ve written elsewhere that in my opinion open source software is a preferable option for Healthcare Information Systems(2-3), and I think Python is the programming language to do it in. Also I'd like to learn Python. The conference was a lot of fun. I found an exceptionally talented, friendly, and helpful community. I gave a lightening talk on NHS IT and asked for help, the response has been amazing. Watch this space.



  3. #ossplease

Conflict of interest statement:
I do not receive any material benefit from software standards organisations or from software development, either commercial or open source.

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