2016/62 - Kudakwashe Dimbi
I would like to start by thanking the Florence Nightingale Foundation for awarding me this scholarship and providing me with an invaluable opportunity to develop myself and my leadership skills. In particular I am eternally grateful to Professor Liz Robb OBE, Chief Executive, Florence Nightingale Foundation, for her unwavering support and guidance throughout the scholarship. Thanks also go to my sponsor Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer for England and my employer, the London Ambulance Service.
I would also like to thank Professor Dame Donna Kinnair , Director of Nursing RCN, who provided mentorship for me through this scholarship and provided immeasurable support in helping me realise a larger vision of myself and to formulate my patient improvement.
I would also like to acknowledge the efforts and support of Janet Shallow, Leadership Programme Manager /Partnerships Administrator at the Florence Nightingale Foundation for her patience, calm nature and unwavering support with all practical enquiries during my scholarship.
In conclusion, I would like to thank my daughter Danarca and my son Calvin for their patience and support as I pursued my scholarship activities.
Following an appraisal with my line manager in early 2015 and as part of my personal development plan my line manager encouraged me to apply for this scholarship and I have never regretted taking that advice. The opportunity for a bespoke leadership programme was appealing to me because this meant I could tailor the scholarship activities to areas of improvement as identified during my yearly appraisal. I was also keen to take on this scholarship as I was feeling a little isolated from the nursing profession. Having worked in the London Ambulance service for the past four years, I have had minimal opportunities to network and engage with nurse leaders and this felt like a good opportunity to re-integrate and network with other nurse leaders.
December 2015 marked the beginning of my Florence Nightingale Leadership Scholarship journey. I planned to use my Leadership scholarship to further develop and enhance my individual’s leadership and maximise my professional impact at the same time defining and consolidating long term career goals. A particular focus was enhancing influential leadership skills to allow me to work more effectively with partners, stakeholders and patients helping to bring about and contribute to changes required within the National Health Service around the provision of crisis mental health care and general access to mental health services. My patient improvement project was and remains centred on the introduction of mental health nurses to the ambulance service to provide a specialist hear and treat function for mental health callers thereby addressing parity of esteem between physical and mental health callers by addressing alternative responses to mental health patients who may not require an ambulance or may be waiting long periods for an ambulance to dispatched due to limited resources. At the time of starting the scholarship I had already began work within LAS leading on this project. I currently continue to work in partnership with mental health trusts in London in the recruitment, retention and further development of this new role. Work streams include the development and agreement of alternative care pathways, joint training initiatives, secondment and rotational opportunities. A second objective of this project was the introduction of nurses into the London Ambulance Service
By participating in the Florence Nightingale Foundation Leadership Scholarship I have acquired invaluable knowledge, skills, experience and expertise at a national and international level. I have had the opportunity to present my patient improvement project at the European Conference on Mental Health (ECMH) in Prague in September 2016. Presenting at ECMH in Prague provided me with an international audience and an opportunity to network an internationally while gaining experience and confidence in my presentation and leadership skills. I have also had the opportunity to travel to Singapore and take part in the High Impact Leadership Programme which again provided an opportunity to learn with network and interact with international leaders from non-clinical backgrounds. I have been exposed to numerous leadership development activities aimed at enhancing and improving my leadership skills. Throughout this process, I have become more self-aware of myself as a leader. I have been able to reflect on my own leadership experience and learn from fellow FNF scholars and other nurse leaders working in different NHS and non-NHS systems and denominations.
Through formal study activities, conferences and networking activities, I have increased my knowledge on clinical leadership and feel more confident to lead outside my area of expertise.
As I come to the end of my Florence Nightingale Leadership Scholarship journey, I feel rejuvenated and ready to pursue further clinical leadership roles and take the lead in improving the quality of care provided to mental health patients.