Hey everyone! Today I wanted to share my first EGA Residential experience in Leeds. The four-day residential, comprising of 10-hour days, team activities, patient experiences, and even actors, was truly incredible, and in all honesty physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting. There were so many learnings to take away, including learning to reflect on ourselves, being able to give and receive effective feedback, and how to successfully complete scheme assignments.
Those learnings were invaluable, and I will definitely be coming back to the reflection and feedback aspects in future posts, but I really wanted to focus this post on the greatest impact the residential had on me, and that was on being a team through a united purpose and shared values.
All of the scheme trainees not only believed in a patient first approach to healthcare, but were passionately vocal about it. A few patients with varying experiences came to talk to us about their pathways within the healthcare system, the good (great even) but also the difficulties they faced. Splitting into three groups of 17 we all identified areas of improvement and what patients valued the most. One of the days also involved sharing the stories of our loved ones as patients of the NHS; we all let our guards down and shared emotion-packed stories. In my opinion working in the NHS is probably one of the few places of work where being emotional is not only okay but is a key driving force in the work we do.
Diversity and Inclusion
Diversity and inclusion always seem like buzz words that we throw around without understanding their deeper implications. When I saw the schedule for a full day on this, I thought it was going to be a repeat of what is just common sense (mainly because it should be common sense to be inclusive and embrace diversity!). But I was happily surprised at how much we actually learned during this day. The three groups organised several activities that brought out our diversities and celebrated them. Through these activities we were forced to step out of our comfort zones, realise our own misconceptions, share with our peers our reservations about our own diversities, and in turn teach each other to proudly bring them to wherever we go. Finally, we acknowledged that as future leaders we need to remember to actively champion diversity and inclusion on a day to day basis in order to truly embed it into the culture of every single healthcare organisation.
To say the room was filled with strong characters would be an understatement. It was both empowering and intimidating at the same time. Although I definitely don’t feel it all the time (in fact being in a completely new role, not much at all these days!), I do know that I have a strong personality and character. And one common aspect among the cohort was this strength and the ambition that came along with it. This does not mean being loud and vocal. In my opinion, it means being able to confidently stand for the things we believe in and having the drive to pursue them. Some do this by gracefully standing out in a room of 50 and sharing their views, while others take actions out of the spotlight. And there were individuals on both ends of the extreme, all of whom I would say were equally strong and ambitious. So I guess the message from this is, ambition and strength are shared characteristics in a room of (future) leaders, but the method of delivery is where our celebrated diversities can come into play.