If, like me, you have an interest in quality improvement in healthcare, chances are you are in one of two situations. You may already be part of a network of likeminded people, whether this is a formal network such as the IQT Gold Network , or an informal network with colleagues. Alternatively you may have a real interest in quality improvement, and have lots of ideas and experience, but are feeling isolated and don’t know where to go for help, inspiration, or to share ideas. Whichever of these sound most familiar, Q may be for you.
I was lucky enough to be part of the founding cohort for Q. During 2015, 231 of us from across the UK worked together with the Health Foundation to help design, refine and test Q before wider recruitment started in 2016. It is fair to say that co-producing something with this many people was an interesting experience. At times it was confusing and even frustrating. However it was always thought provoking, it enabled me to be part of lots of brilliant conversations and most importantly, it was lots of fun!
Now Q has moved into wider recruitment, it’s exciting to see the community grow and develop, and it will be good to see the numbers of people from Wales increase. If you are wondering whether Q is for you and are not sure whether it is worth applying, these would be my thoughts. With Q, you will get out what you put in. It is a two way process, and one that you can engage in to whatever level you wish. It may be that you undertake most of your Q activity at your desk or workplace, whether that is reading or writing blogs, speaking to other community members via the Randomised Coffee Trials, or by joining one of the many special interest groups. Alternatively there are lots of opportunities for face to face networking, with regional and national Q events, Q visits and Q labs.
For me, Q has provided the opportunity to meet people that I wouldn’t have met, to swap ideas and to learn new things. In Wales, we are quite advanced compared to other areas in that we already have IQT and the Gold Network. With Q, your network within Wales will strengthen and you will join a community from across the rest of the UK. By far the best thing that Q has given me is to meet someone at one of the national networking events from NHS Scotland who does the same job as me. And I mean, exactly the same job. It’s like we live in a parallel universe. Our teams do the same things, are structured the same way, and face the same challenges. We now have monthly phone calls, discuss issues, solve problems together and share documents, solutions and ideas. In July the first of our reciprocal visits is taking place. The way my team and I work, has changed significantly for the better because of the person I met through Q.
So, do I think you should you join Q? If you have a passion for quality improvement in healthcare, and are willing to be a proactive member in an exciting new community of likeminded people, then absolutely, yes you should!