A healthcare worker credits the leadership development programme having been promoted to the head of department, just six months after she completed the Mary Seacole programme.
Melody Schultz, 34, was made head of physiotherapy outpatients at Weston Area Health NHS Foundation Trust after completing the Mary Seacole programme earlier this year. Melody previously was a specialist physiotherapist at Northern Devon NHS Foundation Trust. She said: “After the Francis Inquiry I was really interested about the programmes the Academy offered, so I decided to look into this and I’m glad I did.
“I had taken part in other leadership programmes previously but the Mary Seacole programme was specific to the NHS and most importantly looked at the core of the health service – delivering exceptional patient care. It made a huge difference to me, improving my confidence and knowledge and thanks to the programme I was promoted. I can now reach my full potential.
“The programme showed me that there was a real desire to lead change well. It’s a very broad thinking programme and allows you to understand the importance of leading change positively with stakeholders at all levels, rather than pushing it through at a time when morale is very low in the workforce.
In line with her promotion, Melody used the skills she developed on the programme to successfully manage a project which saw the complete redesign of the physiotherapy outpatients department at Weston Area Health NHS Trust.
“I learnt to challenge the status quo and see things with a fresh pair of eyes when I got my new job. I was not embedded in the culture of the organisation so I challenged the working environment as I realised a lot of change was needed. I made the case for the project and the Trust invested £200K in bringing the department up to date and purpose built. It’s now big enough to grow the service for the local people and meet the needs of the service for years to come.
“There were a number of changes from redesigning the waiting rooms and making the environment friendlier for patients, to looking at how services can be delivered better. For example we had extremely dated decor and very little privacy for patients before, but now everything has changed, the area is more spacious. Patients have really noticed a difference. The whole area has had a face lift – it’s clean, bright and we have our own designated waiting room area, as well as private clinical rooms.
“As well as the promotion and managing the project, the programme taught me so much. At a time when things are challenging in the NHS – it gave me inspiration and made me fall back in love again with my profession and the health service. It has been a few difficult years and many are turning away from the NHS and becoming disillusioned. The programme helped me take back all the positive learning I achieved to the Trust, to help boost staff morale and remind them of their true purpose – to change patient’s lives. The positivity from the programme was really infectious.
“I remember David Cameron said in his campaign that he wouldn’t make a decision ‘for me – without me.’ In my line of work it’s all about patients. It’s about empowering clinicians to have the skills to make changes to frontline services and listening to patients to make sure services are truly patient focused. I’m making decisions with my team and for the wellbeing of patients and that is down to the programme – it’s really powerful.
Melody is now looking to apply for the Elizabeth Garratt Anderson programme at The NHS Leadership Academy. Here are her words of advice for anyone who is thinking about doing the Mary Seacole programme, “I would definitely recommend the programme if you’re thinking of doing it – just do it! Be prepared to put in as much as you take out, and be organised – you can only achieve if you buy into it. To all the managers out there who have members of staff who are interested in this programme – it’s worth the investment especially as it shows people the importance of putting patients at the heart of everything they do and getting them on side to help you in the future to drive change through.”