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Reflections of a Transformer in Disguise - a midwife's journey to transformation and leadership

Gemma Boyd is the recently appointed HEE Transformation and Leadership fellow. Gemma has written a blog about her personal leadership journey and plans to write an installment every month so over the year it tells the story of her development during the fellowship.


The fellowship is a secondment for a year in which you undertake a project that has been identified by your host as being of value that also acts as a vehicle for your leadership development. My project pro-forma states ‘The fellow will have a remit to scope, review and develop a framework for evaluating the impact of the new trainee nursing associate role’.

In this blog I plan to reflect on my journey during the fellowship with the hope that immersing myself in workforce transformation will lead to an excitable, passionate midwife and educator with a healthy dose of impostor syndrome, transforming herself  into a leader. I hope that the magic will happen before your very eyes and at the end of the year I will look the same and sound the same but I will not be the same.

My journey started in March when I spotted an advert for a Transformation and Leadership Fellow. Within my role as a Midwifery Clinical Educator, I have spent the last two years working on maternity support worker development so the project peaked my interest as a way to gain the skills I needed to move MSW development forward. It also contained lots of other lovely words and phrases I like such as influencing, strengthen confidence to challenge the rules and rituals of daily practice, innovative thinking and creative problem solving. I was excited. Then I saw it was a Band 8a. I stopped being excited. I thought this is not for me. People like me don’t get jobs like these...

 

It’s now July and someone like me (i.e me) has been a Leadership fellow now for one month and I still don’t really believe it is real. I keep waking up in the mornings feeling the usual too early grogginess of being a working mum and then a little wave of excitement starts to creep up over me and it takes me a minute to realise it’s because I’m a fellow.

When I found out I had been appointed, I did what any self-respecting person does when they get a new job - immediately went out and bought loads of stationery. On the notebook I bought, every page has on it an inspirational quote. I am going to take one of these quotes as a guide for each of my blogs (and as something to cling on to on the days when I am overwhelmed).

She must find a boat and sail in it. No guarantee of shore. Only a conviction that what she wanted could exist, if she dared to find it.’ 

Jeanette Winterson (Knock Knock 2017)

So far, I have been able to attend meetings with the Director of HR, observed the Workforce Transformation Delivery Group  and met  many of the people who are driving and influencing change within the region and nationally. I am being personally mentored and supported by our Assistant Directors of Nursing as well as a Professor of Business Studies at Nottingham University. I have even been to Westminster and debated, influenced and engaged MPs in issues around the future of nursing. My biggest learning so far is that all these important and powerful people are not that different from me. They are as passionate and dedicated to the care we deliver as I am. They also have the same frustrations as me in their ability to transform their ideas and vision into reality in the world. They really do care about people and are working properly hard to improve that in exactly the same way as we work properly hard on wards,  in clinics and in people’s homes (honestly, they don’t get a lunch break either or go home on time). This has been a revelation to me. Everyone is just so nice. I am also nice so it shouldn’t be a shock that people are nice to me but it sort of is - need to have a word with myself about that.

You see, though I have 16 years experience as a midwife,  I’m so far out of my comfort zone that I am permanently jet lagged. My biggest challenge is not necessarily developing an evaluation framework, my biggest challenge is me. I need to start believing this is meant for people like me.

After years of searching, I have found my boat and I am learning to sail it. Today I am at sea. A job where I can influence change, make a difference and be valued for the qualities that only I have could exist. I can’t see it yet but I am going to do my best and have faith.

So this is me, having a word with myself. Just get in the damn boat, girl. What’s the worst that can happen?

They picked you for a reason and the reason is you.

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