My Q-uest for improvement

When I applied to join Q as a founding cohort member in 2015, I wasn’t really sure what was involved. I knew I wanted to re-energise my involvement in improvement and I was really excited to be part of a new initiative that seeks to bring a like-minded connected network of improvers together for the benefit of patients. Sometimes improvement work can feel quite isolating, and Q has offered me a great opportunity to extend my network and connect with other Q members. I feel part of a community who are committed to raising the profile of quality improvement in health and care services.  I like the flexibility in that I can control the amount of time I give to such things as special interest groups, randomised coffee trials, and Q learning labs.

Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are a great way for people to share experiences, challenges and inspiration. There are several SIGs to choose from, you can simply get in touch directly with any group you’d like to get involved in. If you would like to start a new group – or even are just considering the possibilities – Q’s Community Manager is available to help you with advice, support, promotion and more.

Randomised Coffee Trials (RCTs) are is a rather fancy name for an incredibly simple idea. RCTs are used to connect people at random and give them time to meet to talk about whatever they wish. RCTs are run every month ­­- an opportunity to meet and connect with a different Q member each time. There are no rules here – RCTs should be viewed as an informal opportunity to connect with peers. Every Q member who signs up will be sent the name of another randomly-chosen Q member every month. Each pair can arrange a brief informal meet-up at a time that suits both parties – be it a Skype call, Google Hangout, phone call or even a coffee in person.

The Q Improvement Labs (Q Labs) bring people together from across the UK to work on complex challenges facing health and care. Each lab will focus on a specific challenge for nine to 12 months.  Existing knowledge is used to develop an in-depth understanding on the issue, conduct further research and analysis, generate ideas and test solutions. The first Q Lab is addressing the challenge, ‘What would it take for effective peer support to be available to everyone who wants it to help manage their long-term health and wellbeing needs?’

Q has offered me excellent personal development opportunities, such as being involved in the first Q Lab, but it also has another role for us at the Eastern AHSN. Q will help us to identify people who are already working in improvement but are not involved with the existing networks and Q is a way of galvanising those relationships.

In my role as an improvement coach at the Eastern AHSN, I am contributing to the building of the improvement infrastructure across the region. I am using my own local network to connect with people from across the region who are skilled in improvement and encouraging them to join the Q community. For those people who are just starting to develop their improvement skills I can offer coaching and support so that we build our eastern improvement network and potential Q members.

To anyone thinking about applying, I’d say this is a unique opportunity to join a community of like-minded, diverse people who are making improvements to benefit those who use our health and care system. It will benefit not just your personal development but services you are part of delivering and care that is given to patients.

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