It’s All About Q

Written by Gill Husband on 25th September 2017

When I first heard about Q I was intrigued, the promotional material highlighted Q as the advocate for a community that is made up of a diverse range of people across health and social care. A community that is being created for the long term, with increased diversity which in turn will boost the power of Q as a source of innovation. It sounded “different”, however I found myself wondering what that would mean in practice. I have been involved in networks and communities of practice previously, more often than not they were speciality or profession specific meeting occasionally, always using the same format and although the intention was often longevity of the network, the reality was they had a limited life.

So I joined Q with an anticipation for a network that was atypical but would also address the needs which Don Berwick highlighted in his 2013 report, essentially “to support people in their existing improvement work: making it easier to share ideas, enhance skills and make changes that benefit patients”.

Getting started I was full of anticipation, I attended the introduction event which felt vibrant and dynamic, many like- minded people all keen to foster relationships and make connections which may lead to interesting dialogue and longer term relationships. I reconnected with some “old faces” and also met with some new. However, I felt the real challenge was what will happen when I leave the Q Launch event and essentially the improvement bubble that the launch event had created, would I really find the time to make a difference with Q?

I am embarrassed to say I was worried I might feel it was an additional effort to log onto the Q site when pressured with work but the Q team have made this easy. Monthly Q-municate updates tell me what is happening nationally and offer me numerous and varied opportunities to become involved via quick links to WebEx’s, news regarding visits and events and updates from the Q Lab. Taking a small spell out of my day to retrieve the easy to access information may only take minutes or if I am drawn into an area, a more substantial amount of time, either way the dedicated time pays me back ten- fold.

Connecting with my improvement peers gives me energy, sharing my thoughts and experiences on service improvement with a similar group. Edward Demming talks about everybody should take joy from their work, which in turn leads to higher user satisfaction, better staff engagement, higher productivity and more efficiency. Q facilitates me to find that joy which manifests in me as wellbeing and energy, improvement science is a discipline I have a passion for, now I have found a quick route which connects me with other improvers and results in energy and a sense of purpose. I have since joined two of the special interest groups; Developing Research Capacity in Quality Improvement and PPI and Diversity Special Interest Group. I feel I am in this for the long term  and I don’t have to prove myself, Q is a support to me with my work, is available when I need it and helps me to help my peers.