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Fostering Shared Knowledge through National Collaboration

By Gemma Price, HR Trainee, NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme


Working within healthcare, communication and collaboration are frequently considered virtues that all colleagues should uphold. Indeed, in any organisation, an inability to share, develop and learn from each other only hinders our progress.

Embracing shared knowledge and lived experience is the main reflection that I have from my first year on the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme. Working as a lone trainee in an NHS Trust can be isolating, and yet our scheme comes with over two hundred colleagues in the same position in NHS organisations across the country.

Having worked in the NHS prior to joining the scheme, my knowledge was limited on the ramifications of collaboration; for me, that word meant working with colleagues in my office or with a related department. However, over the past year I have come to understand that there is no limit to who can support you within the NHS.

As a HR Professional I frequently update policies and guidance to incorporate new legislation and to embed just culture. Early in my career, this was something that I developed in a silo, combing over recent publications to ensure our policies were the most up to date and factual they could be.

After joining the GMTS, I realised that every NHS organisation has similar sets of policies, and yet this wealth of resource is not routinely embraced. Unfortunately, it is all too easy to default to working in an vacuum when faced with the daily pressures in each NHS organisation.

Over the past year, I have consulted with both my local network and my national GMTS colleagues when enacting change, resulting in service development based on our shared learning. Through this, I’ve discovered a wealth of wellbeing resources accessible to staff across the country, despite only being advertised locally in some areas.

Working with this national network also enables elimination of unconscious bias. Policies, procedures, organisational change, and service development all can negatively affect those involved if not implemented correctly. By learning from colleagues that have already affected change, we can mitigate potential issues that may not have been identified otherwise.

Even within the GMTS itself, there is potential to learn from other services under Health Education England, and yet this is still limited at present. One such improvement would be the complex nature of sharing information between employers and hosts, which I am aiming to develop from building on learning from another HEE shared service.

Whilst of course there is a concern around intellectual property, I truly believe only benefits can come from colleagues sharing best practice or mistakes to avoid and will ultimately change health and social care for the better.

As I move into my new role in an ambulance service, I look forward to incorporating this learning in such a different NHS organisation to the Acute Trusts I am used to. Ultimately, I would encourage everyone to expand their networks nationwide, and get to know colleagues outside of your region for your own development and that of your service.

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