“Unlike being a junior doctor, I won’t just drop you in the deep end and expect you to know exactly what you’re doing”
– Adam Kay, This is Going to Hurt
In my previous job I used to support people in Employment Tribunals, seeking closure on what were usually very stressful situations. I enjoyed advocating for my clients, but I was intrigued to discover if there was a way we could prevent, rather than cure, things going badly wrong in the workplace,
This led me to studying psychology in the workplace, and for my MSc dissertation in the subject, I researched why highly motivated teams were not complying with mandatory processes which had been shown to improve safety. During this introduction into the day-to-day work of surgical teams, I was infected by the research bug. Now, here I am, coming towards the end of my first year of my PhD, expanding my exploration into their unique environment.
I am gathering data about leadership in surgical teams, to understand whether the senior surgeon is still the heroic, hierarchical leader, or whether there has been a move to more collaborative, non-hierarchical leadership.
I’m excited to be using quite a new approach to finding out about this – ‘Leadership-As-Practice’. It holds promise for delivering a broad view of how surgical team-members produce leadership. What objects, tools and processes they use, and where the leadership is triggered? Will we find it happening only over the operating table, or is there something going on in the corridors between operating theatres and the canteen? Is a WhatsApp group the new space to go to for discussion and decisions, before incision?
I invite you to join me on my journey as I put these questions, and more, to members of our NHS teams, to discover what contemporary leadership looks like for them. I can’t promise the drama of Gray’s Anatomy, or the humour of Scrubs, but I do promise not use jargon, medical or academic, and not to “drop you in the deep end”, by expecting you to automatically know what I’m talking about!
This is the first post on my new blog. I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.
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Tracey’s research is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (Wales Doctoral Programme).