Authenticated user menu

1 April 2022
Total views

Meeting FMLM’s leadership commitment at Sheffield Health and Social Care

By Dr David Bishop

FMLM member and ST5 Psychiatry Trainee, Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust

I had mixed feelings prior to starting my ST5 job at a new trust, along with my leadership and management fellowship with the Royal College of Psychiatrists. In the past two years, Sheffield Health and Social Care Foundation Trust (SHSC) has been through a difficult time, receiving an ‘inadequate’ CQC report (since improved) and seeing a large turnover in senior leaders. I was, therefore, encouraged to see that this had sparked a real desire to change the way leadership worked in the trust and to work more closely with FMLM to help drive improvement.

When I met with my fellowship mentor, Deputy Medical Director Dr Helen Crimlisk, it was clear that there was a vision to empower all doctors within the trust to grow as leaders, which very much included trainees. I set about using the FMLM Leadership and Management Standards for Medical Professionals regarding the FMLM Leadership Commitment for Junior Doctors to undertake a gap analysis of where the trust was already doing well and where further improvements could be made.

Higher trainees in psychiatry are fortunate to already have a day a week of protected special interest time, which can involve leadership and management activity. Core and foundation trainees also have time for leadership and management built into their job plans.

So, we had senior leaders who were keen to improve quality in SHSC and to get trainees involved in leadership, and enthusiastic trainees who had protected time to do just this – a match made in heaven? Certainly promising, but the matchmaking needed to be done; being time ‘poor’ and with many competing interests, opportunities to engage trainees needed to be brought to their doorsteps.

I set about contacting all consultants at SHSC, curating a list of projects that they were actively trying to get started and could benefit from the assistance of trainees in progressing. I also explored who else in SHSC could offer tailored shadowing opportunities – it turned out, with enough pestering, most people were more than happy! We are now in the final phases of making these leadership opportunities as transparent and easy to access for trainees as possible. A new intranet site has been created where opportunities will be advertised and regularly curated. Mini leadership development forums will be incorporated into the monthly core and higher trainee committee meetings to advertise these opportunities further and allow a platform for discussion.

I have found others keen to get involved and have been lucky to join forces with a couple of colleagues in becoming SHSC's first (and hopefully one of many) leadership and management trainee champions. We are the matchmakers, aiming to bridge the gap between peers who are keen to develop their own skills and an organisation which is demonstrating that it sees the wealth of potential in giving opportunities to doctors of all grades to take more responsibility. Senior leaders are regularly invited to various junior doctor forums where problems can be collaboratively solved, Q&A sessions facilitated, and better relationships able to grow.

It was also recognised that clinical and educational supervisors, consultants, as well as medical managers also needed support to enhance their understanding of the FMLM Standards. Development sessions were held to articulate the language of leadership and management aligned to the FMLM Standards to support the work, which tied in with SHSC's ambition to achieve affiliation with FMLM as part of a wider improvement plan.

Enacting FMLM's Leadership Commitment for Junior Doctors will not and should not be a one-off process. To change culture in an organisation takes a sustained effort. We hope that the positions of leadership and management champions can help in doing this, as well as future leadership fellows within the trust. Having the FMLM standards to regularly audit against will be a vital tool in assessing the leadership health of the Trust.

If I had to condense my learning from leading the Trust's commitment to junior doctors into a few points it would be these:

  1. Find allies who share your vision, it might surprise you how many there could be once you start to make some noise.
  2. Involving the Trust's medical education department from the outset was vital. They also really appreciated being considered an equal stakeholder when it came to enacting the commitment.
  3. Building relationships is the bedrock for getting things done.

 or  Register to add a comment


Array ( [0] => sitewide [1] => advert_external_leaderboard [2] => not_front_desktop [3] => advert_external_wideskyscraper [4] => attachments [5] => comments [6] => comments_login_prompt [7] => jobs_content_pages [8] => node-social-accelerators [9] => node_article [10] => related_content [11] => twitter_feed_rhs [12] => member_attachments_for_non_members [13] => advert_internal_desktop )