Whilst working at the PPN SE, I've been fortunate to study the Edward Jenner Programme. Now coming to the end of my post, I'm very pleased to have completed the course and submitted my reflective essay. I have summarised the assignment below...
I remember the feeling of accomplishment mixed with imposter syndrome when commencing my Senior Assistant Psychologist post within the Psychological Professions Network South East (PPN SE), a strategic, multi-professional network which joins up the psychological professions workforce in the NHS, funded by Health Education England. This was my first full-time post-graduate role, and despite recently completing my Masters at the University of Surrey, I discovered that I was due to embark on an additional period of learning; working in the NHS was novel to me. This learning process has been enhanced through studying the Edward Jenner Programme (EJP), an NHS Leadership Academy course in Leadership Foundations.
The EJP consists of modules covering leadership theory, practice, and reflective exercises. For me, the key learning from the course has been understanding distributed leadership, which posits that regardless of job title or position, everyone in an organisation has responsibility to be a leader; being their best and influencing others to achieve goals. This concept is underpinned by the collective responsibility of all employees to utilise their unique skills to support the delivery of organisational aims, such as maximising the impact of the psychological professions to achieve the NHS Long Term Plan. On an individual level, collective flexibility is our awareness of when to lead or follow to achieve these objectives.
The Impact of the Programme
Understanding these concepts has enabled me to effectively support a variety of PPN SE workstreams, as well as tackling feelings of imposter syndrome, through enhancing my confidence to implement new skills into my daily practice. Some personal highlights of the course include learning about the Johari Window Model, types of power, the learning cycle, and different styles of communication, one example is the ‘inspiring’ method. I have observed how these techniques have improved service delivery and enhanced the thrust of my input in multi-stakeholder meetings, such as suggesting to include the National Vision for Psychological Professions in a briefing paper, thereby increasing stakeholder knowledge of the Vision. The content of the EJP is stimulating yet reflective and has been beneficial to my personal development. This process would be fallible without reflective practice and evaluation using the learning cycle. Assessing my performance from an objective stance has helped to identify further opportunities for development beyond the course.
Looking to the future, from September 2021 I will be studying the Doctorate of Clinical Psychology at Royal Holloway, University of London. An aspect of my role as a Clinical Psychologist will be to demonstrate leadership and provide psychological input within teams and services, and the EJP has provided me with the confidence and knowledge to continually develop my interpersonal skills across future placements in the NHS. In my current role, the EJP has taught me to distinguish the varying effect of different leadership behaviours demonstrated by myself and others, and the impact this has upon colleagues and service delivery. Having considered this, I see my leadership skills developing by further experimentation with the content of the course while striving to be a compassionate and inspiring role model.
Ultimately, I now recognise that everyone can choose to be a leader. Leadership is a set of characteristics, an ongoing pursuit, and not solely a job title. Living according to this maxim will continually support the development my own leadership style whilst making the NHS that little bit better for the communities we serve. With this in mind, I would encourage aspiring psychological professionals to consider whether this programme could also be beneficial in their practice.
Senior Assistant Psychologist