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Board affiliate blog – Hannah Hornby – December 2022

Trainee Leadership Board

Another month has gone by and I’m finding that the Board meeting is something that I am now quite looking forward to. It’s so nice to see all of the board members in person and it is amazing how things can progress through an informal discussion between meetings, and what you can learn from a brief catch up. Virtual meetings certainly have their place but I’m definitely a fan of the face-to-face approach, plus it’s a chance for a nice change of scenery and an outfit other than a white tunic. I felt like I found my feet in the strategic people committee this month as I was able to talk about some of my lived experiences of working in the Trust in relation to some of the papers being discussed, which the committee seemed to really value. That was the first time I came away from a meeting feeling like I truly represented the voice of my frontline colleagues in a meaningful way – it was a great feeling and a reminder of why I’m doing this.

In this blog I wanted to focus on a part of my role which involves running the Trainee Leadership board (TLB). It’s a weird one for me as I was in the last cohort of TLB so I’m finding it interesting to see it from the other side. In all honestly the timing of starting the 22/23 TLB could have been better. Mark, my medical board affiliate colleague, was about to start some important exam revision, Sandra, the previous non-medical board affiliate, had just left the post and I was still very new to it all. That being said, the draft timetable had almost been completed and work was well underway to get things going for the next cohort, so with lots of much needed support from Mark and from Jo (Trust Board Business Manager) we started the recruitment process. We had more applications than ever before, but we ended up with a list of 17 names and a real mixture of Junior Doctors, Nurses and AHPs (although I am making it my mission to recruit more AHPs next time!).

The first few sessions of TLB are organised with various seminars, workshops and lectures which are geared towards setting the team up with some useful information to get started with their project. This usually includes sessions on management and leadership skills, quality improvement methods, how the NHS and BHT work, lessons from the private sector and sessions which relate more directly to the topic of the project. After that, the rest of the time is dedicated to working on the project which is set at the induction and it concludes with a presentation to the Board.

If you are looking for an opportunity to develop leadership skills, gain insight into the inner workings of the Trust Board and work on a real-time, meaningful project within BHT then TLB is worth considering. I can’t lie, it’s hard work. There is a time commitment over about 5 months and it takes a lot of brain power but it feels like such a great achievement at the end of it all and it can lead to some real career development opportunities so I would say it’s well worth the effort. It’s also nice to get to know colleagues from different areas of the Trust and just spend time doing something completely different to your usual day job.

When I took part in TLB I remember feeling completely overwhelmed for the first few weeks because the project is always so broad and nothing like the usual local service development work that I was used to.  The projects are designed to be big to encourage strategic-level thinking and I could empathise with the current TLB cohort when they described feeling very unsure of what they were supposed to be doing or where to start. The thing to remember is this: working out how to tackle the project, how to break it down and where to start is sort of the point of TLB. Going through this process, working things out and drawing out individual strengths from within the team are the ways in which TLB provides a unique opportunity to develop yourself as a leader.

If you would like to know more about TLB or you are considering applying for the next cohort, please feel free to get in touch via email