This week I met The Fish. I wasn’t expecting to meet The Fish, especially as I’d been hearing about the Frog, or the Glass Frog to be more exact. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect at all: having met most of the Kaleidoscopians at the Collaboration: Know How event last month I knew that I was joining an enthusastic, friendly, energetic team, but after working in the NHS for 8 years, I was still, well, terrified. The work they do is so far removed from the environment that I have been engrossed in, that I was panicking.
After working in the NHS for eight years I have become accustomed to the regular routine of induction: going through the reams of paperwork with human resources (most of it unchanged since medical school); making awkward conversation with new starters over instant coffee and stale biscuits; fire and safety; the speech from the medical director telling us how many mistakes junior doctors make every year; and the manual handling course where all the bed designs in the hospital are demonstrated one-by-one. Not forgetting the several hours of online e-induction and assessments to be done once you get home.
So, armed with nothing but my trusty laptop and Google maps, I navigated myself (mostly successfully) to Kaleidoscope HQ - and stumbled straight into a meeting. Immediately I was sat down at the table and involved: just as if I had always been a part of the conversation.
This is the reason that I’m here.
Having been lucky enough to obtain a National Medical Director’s Clinical Fellowship through the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management, I was delighted to find out that my placement would be at Kaleidoscope.
The NHS is full of wonderful people: hardworking, diligent, intelligent and motivated. But at times, there can be incredible frustration: it is not the patient or the medicine that is the problem, it is making the systems work in harmony to provide the best possible care. A form of tribalism runs through hospitals, an ‘us and them’ between departments and between clinicians and managers. I even found myself embracing this blinkered, jaded view of the world.
At Kaleidoscope, these kinds of attitudes are challenged, bringing people together to converse and collaborate. It is a different type of organisation, based on caring and trust. This year I hope to learn as much as I can, not only about collaboration, networks and strategy, but also about how to work while maintaining these fundamental values.
After my first week I can see that Kaleidoscopians learn by doing, with the support of the team around them. The fear is no longer there.