Jane Melvin is a directorate manager of the Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle, where she has been for four years. She originally trained as a mental health nurse and has worked in inpatient child and adolescent mental health units. Following time as a staff nurse, ward manager and Matron, she became a service manager and eventually progressed to management.
She recently completed the national NHS Leadership Academy’s Nye Bevan Programme for aspirant directors, which has been shown to accelerate individuals into executive roles, helping them perform better at board level, and help boards better meet operational challenges today and enable change for tomorrow.
Having completed a clinical MSc in Psychodynamic Practice and an MBA, Jane didn’t seek more leadership training or qualifications. However she was looking for feedback on her leadership practice and wanted to be stretched to develop, saying, “I wanted to assess how close I was to an executive role and understand the development needed.”
By far the most valuable thing Jane learned on the Nye Bevan programme was the direct 360° degree feedback she received, along with the Learning Sets. “It gave me insight into my leadership style which I was completely blind to,” she explains. “I used that feedback and set objectives that allowed me to test out new behaviours and really changed my outlook and made me a more effective leader.”
Because so much of the programme was about Jane’s personal leadership style, she now uses what she learned in her role every day and says it gave her a different way of seeing things.
Jane points out that the programme is psychologically demanding and that anyone thinking of applying should prepare himself or herself for the amount of work required. She explains: “I had not realised the written workload involved. The expectation regarding attendance is clearly set at the start of the course and I organised my life to be able to commit myself to the programme.”
Ultimately, the Nye Bevan programme opened Jane’s eyes to the demands of an executive role. However she says that she would only want to take that step at the right time and in the meantime is keen to consolidate her learning and extend skills in her current role.
Summing up, Jane enjoyed every minute of the programme, “It came at exactly the right time for me – 18 months into a new job when I’d found my feet but could use the programme to address issues that challenged me.”
Read more about the Nye Bevan programme here.