Adapting to the new reality

Sunrise over water

Change is a journey. And, just like any physical journey, it doesn’t happen in an instant. Such a feat transportation is for the realms of science fiction. We don’t just teleport from A to B in a flash – and we don’t expect that to be possible anytime in the near future. A lot can happen on the way from A to B. And the longer the distance, the more unpredictable our journeys become – especially if we are heading somewhere we’ve never been before. So, we shouldn’t expect to be able to instantly change the way that we think, feel and act to be able to function in this new unpredicted reality any more that we would expect to teleport from A to B. Likewise, we shouldn’t expect our teams and colleagues to perform feats of instant change that belong to the world of science fiction either.

Enabling change

Achieving and sustaining real change depends on alignment of numerous behaviours and factors. It demands collaborative and compassionate leadership: envisioning the future; getting others on board; harnessing energy and channeling it in a constructive direction. It requires considered practical management to clarify plans, define processes, allocate actions and ensure everything is on track. Effective team communication where everyone takes responsibility, encourages or challenges colleagues as required and speaks up when something isn’t right is also essential. And it typically requires teaching new systems and skills. Or it may require coaching and mentoring individuals to help them find their own solutions, enabling them to think for themselves.

This doesn’t all just happen by chance. Any collective of individuals will only function in this way if they have developed relevant leadership, management, communication and teaching skills. And this takes deliberate, dedicated effort. But how can you spend time on personal development when there is so much going on? How can you access quality learning activities when there’s restriction on people getting together?

The skills development challenge

At Oxford Medical, we’ve been considering these questions too. We support the development of around 3,500 doctors each year, with the largest percentage of this taking place via courses at locations across the UK.

We’re pleased to be able to say we’ve created a range of CPD accredited interactive online courses over the past few years which have been very well received. Are they better or worse than attending courses? Well it’s better to think in terms of each modality being different. Each has it’s advantages and limitations. So, they’re different entities which each provide opportunity.

Well designed modular online courses mean you can dip in and out as you choose. You can do a 10 minute module any time you have a break. You can chew over the various reflective exercises for as long as you want – 5 minutes or 5 days. Alternatively, you can sit down and work through the entire course in one sitting in the comfort of your own home during an evening when there’s nothing worth watching on TV. It’s all under your own control.

What about courses to attend?

Our courses where you attend in person are available to book for dates where we believe we will be able to safely resume such activities. We’re keeping up to date with latest guidance and making adjustments accordingly. When we had to cancel courses across March and April we were able to successfully support delegates via virtual events.

On virtual events, we explore the same subject matter as the courses where everyone is in the same room. We just do it in a different way. It’s still interactive and everyone still gets the same CPD certificate for attending a 1 day or 2 day course as appropriate. In fact, with a great deal activity moving on to Skype, Zoom and other virtual meeting software, virtual versions of our Consultant Interview or Advanced Teach the Teacher: Mentoring Skills for Doctors provided experience in the perfect format.

So there are always options. They’re all just different. What is important is that skills development continues. In fact, you could argue it’s more important now than ever.

How are you developing and enhancing your skills to play an active part in adapting to the new reality?

Stephen McGuire – Managing Director