A fitting end to an amazing year

The Clinical Education Improvement Fellowship (CEIF) celebration event on 9 October in the beautiful orangery at the Kings Fund, London was a fitting end to an amazing year for the latest cohort. In this blog, Pooja Rabheru and Helen Walcott talk about the experiences and learnings the cohort have come away with.

“The evening began with presentations from each part of the tripartite fellowship support. Rebecca Tyrell led with the fellowship development and hopes for the future followed by system-level leadership development and innovation from Greta Westwood. Chris Burton introduced the fellows with an overview of projects and the role of Canterbury Christchurch University.

The fellows then individually took to the stage and gave a three-minute elevator pitch on their project, with a video presentation from Pooja, who could not join in person. Watching the other fellows was an incredibly proud moment and a recognition of how far we have all come.

With our nerves settled after finishing the presentations and a fitting close from Karen Harrison-White, we were able to enjoy drinks and network with our esteemed guests. Between canapes, we discussed project implementation, next steps and hopes for the future with those who inspire and lead system-level change. The fellows finished the night with drinks outside in the warm October evening, reflecting on the close to an incredible year of inspiration, opportunity, and growth.

Reflecting over the last year we fellows have collaborated one last time to give you some advice for if you are starting your fellowship journey.

From surviving to thriving: top tips for your fellowship journey:

  • Build an adaptable leadership style: Don’t be afraid to change the way you lead dependant on your project, stakeholders and teams – you never know you might find your new preferred style!
  • Building a community of peers: You will never meet such an inspiring group of people willing to share ideas and push you to reach your potential – make sure you take advantage!
  • Take a chance on people and opportunities: You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take – the results may surprise you!
  • Reach out to the big guns: Don’t be afraid to involve the big stakeholders in your project from day one – they will help shape your project to avoid barriers along the way.
  • Don’t be afraid of failure: Your fellowship journey will not be plain sailing. Don’t get discouraged when you reach stumbling blocks – use these as learning opportunities to develop your skillset.
  • Create a plan to manage time: The adjustment from clinical work to full time remote working can be a tough transition – make weekly goals to keep your project moving.
  • Don’t compare: Your other fellows are all working on different projects working at different paces. Try to avoid comparing your journey to theirs – you’ll find your way in the end! Instead, use their experience to help drive your project forward.
  • Don’t lose sight of where you started: It can be hard to see how far you have come on your leadership journey as you reach project milestones. Reflect on your journey and be proud of how far you have come.
  • Find a way to deal with your frustrations: Your fellowship journey will not be without some ups and downs. Make sure you find a way to channel those frustrations into a positive outcome whether that is being solution-focused, using your peer support or just having some downtime after work.
  • Manage exposure: Remember this is YOUR project – make sure you shout about it from the rooftops to claim ownership and build momentum.
  • Don’t take things personally: Sometimes it will be hard to take criticism – try not to let this affect your enthusiasm. Use it to improve your project outcomes and for personal growth.
  • Clarify and refine expectations: Think about what you would like to achieve and how you evidence that – this could be a poster, framework, personal growth or even a blog post like this. Your project may take an unexpected turn – don’t be afraid to switch it up along the way.
  • Don’t be afraid to dream big: A fellowship gives you an opportunity to reach for the stars – be strategic to reach your goals.
  • Think about fertile ground: You don’t have to pilot your project where you work – think outside your current organisation where they may have more resources to pour into your project.
  • Think about working at a safe distance: If you are doing a part time fellowship running a project in your clinical area can be challenging – try to create boundaries to avoid blurring the lines.

And here is the most important one of them all! You will most likely end your fellowship in a different place than when you started – don’t forget to enjoy the journey!”


If you would like to find out more about the 2022-2023 CEIF cohort, please click here. Also please do follow #SE_CEIF and #TeamFNF on socials to keep up-to-date.