This is the next in a series of blogs featuring the all-female leadership team in our revolutionary Lincolnshire Pain service. Today we feature Emily Byatt, Service Manager, Lincolnshire Community Pain Management Service who talks about how the values at Connect Health attracted her to take on a new role and reinvigorated her passion for healthcare delivery.
I was fixated on physiotherapy from an early age
My mum trained as an OT and so the caring profession was instilled into me from being very young. I did some work experience whilst at high school that reaffirmed that it was the right career path for me.
I graduated from the University of East Anglia in 2007
I then spent five years working in MSK outpatients in Bedfordshire, and later in Kent for the NHS. Throughout this time I discovered that my area of interest was largely around psychosocial aspects. Many of my colleagues enjoyed the simplicity of protocol driven physiotherapy, but I didn’t find that inspiring. I enjoyed seeing the patient as a whole and much preferred cases that were more complex.
Pain management stood out as a speciality for me
I wanted to take my career into a more managerial than purely clinical direction and moved into the independent sector. I held various roles over five years including Clinical Lead, Operational Manager, Quality and Governance Lead and CQC Registered Manager, giving me a broad range of experience across a range of disciplines.
I have always been fascinated by the psychology of the human brain
By the time we meet them, many patients have had an exceptionally long journey and feel judged and have sometimes been told there is nothing wrong with them. They distrust health professionals, and feel jaded, angry, or even cast out by many different services. It can be quite a powerful thing when we meet them. Listening properly to them, sharing information, building trust and rapport can help them to understand modern pain science and what we understand about it. There are not always quick wins, but when we make a difference in pain management, we make such a profound impact.
A big part of what we do is opening up people’s worlds again
People can go from virtually being housebound to getting out. The journey you take them on can be so vast, from very low function to regaining so much of their life. They may be dealing with a lot of grief, a loss of identify, they can’t work and their world gets smaller. Some of the people we help can be very black and white and feel that if they can’t do it, it’s not worth trying. Our job is to problem solve and do things in a different way.
Equality and diversity are things I’m really passionate about, and I love the company values at Connect Health.
I needed to make a change from my previous career for my health and wellbeing as the pressure was unrelenting
I had a national role in a growing organisation. It was a very dictatorial leadership structure, and I was frustrated as I was not able to see the bigger picture. I had to make a decision based on my physical and mental health. At first it was about escaping a job I was unhappy in, but during the interview with Connect Health I realised the values were just what I wanted to hear, and there was so much opportunity.
I joined Connect Health in May 2019 and immediately discovered it is such a well-led organisation
I am in awe of the organisation’s structure, IT capability, and the network of leadership. For example, at the Leadership Conference, we saw the senior management team sharing the strategy and working together. The room was buzzing; full of positive energy, ideas and progress. It is the best HR team I’ve ever worked with and there’s so much support on hand.
There’s a real can-do attitude
The culture is all about investment in people and focusing on investing in people. There is a genuine desire to improve people’s health and wellbeing – and that applies to staff and patients.
Things are fast paced
I consider myself as fairly IT savvy and I felt I’d adjust to the Connect Health way easily, but things are moving very quickly. I’ve embraced the pace of change; the IT capability opens up new ways of working which means you can run with the things you really care about. There’s a massive amount of data available to help you analyse and inform service development.
I’m looking forward to pursuing some of my areas of interest
Health inequalities fascinates and troubles me. I know at Connect Health I’ll be able to explore some of these issues and build them into our local services. I’d also like to learn more about population health; how we can think on a larger scale clinically. I want to look more into the effect of psychosocial factors such as alcohol dependency and abusive relationships. It’s really important to build in quality focused outcomes to services.
I’ve had loads of highs this year
It’s been a roller coaster. There have been some amazing highs but I’ll also admit it’s taken some adjusting to the speed of change. There’s a great work community, which reignited my passion for healthcare delivery. There’s also some really nice social aspects, which I hadn’t realised how much I’d missed, like forging friendships and going out for meals. I’m also on various groups, such as the Safeguarding Group and Incident Reporting Group and I have applied to be on the Pain Special Interest Group. I’ve been given the opportunity to join the New Tricks Leadership Development Programme. There are two-day workshops once a month, giving you practical leadership skills in a way that’s fun and engaging. Things like this make me realise the investment the company is prepared to put into me, and how much support I’m being given, equipping me to do the job.
I’m feeling really positive and optimistic about what we can achieve in Lincolnshire
It feels like this is just the start and the sky’s the limit. The model has shifted from a biomedical focus to a much more holistic biopsychosocial approach, placing the patient at the heart of decision making and care planning. This sets us apart from anything that’s been done as part of community pain management service delivery. I want to feel that I’ve really proved what I’m capable of doing at this level. I see that settling down, and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to show them what I can do.
If you’d like to find out more about working at Connect Health, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here to download Emily Byatt’s Story