As a comms person in any sector it’s vital that you have a good understanding of the business and how it works on a day to day basis.
In a service industry like health it’s even more important and one of the risks of having a wide helicopter view from the top of an organisation is that you can miss what’s happening on the front line.
The real world , especially in the NHS, is always far more visceral than the one portrayed through the usual filters and it’s important for communications teams to be part of that.
Going back to the floor or job shadowing a frontline professional is an excellent way of connecting with the organisation in a different way, generating new ideas, meeting people and learning more about how things are done.
Last week I spent two days shadowing people going about their usual day, seeing how they work, trying to understand the challenges and hopefully making some new friends.
Jane Flinn is our new specialist sepsis nurse and I spent the day trying to learn more about the condition, understand how we can support Jane in getting the right messages out and touring the wards she works on.
If you don’t know anything about Sepsis Jane wrote us a really interesting blog about her role and the challenges she faces here
I spent the second day following our senior nurse on call Janet Thompson, who is the chief matron for medicine in the hospital.
This was a really eye-opening day seeing the sort of challenges the clinical teams are constantly facing, meeting patients (including 87 year old ballroom dancer Harold) and finding parts of the hospital I hadn’t even been to despite working here for three years.
So the comms lesson for me was around taking the time to get a better understanding of the organisation I try to represent. This meant loosing two days of business as usual work at a time when we’re under a lot of pressure, but the pay off was more than worth it.
You can see some pictures of the people I met across the hospital in this slide show I made during the day. Hopefully it gives you a good idea of life on the frontline of an NHS hospital and the people who work there. Click here