Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Former Librarian #14

This week, Jo McCausland is our 14th Former Librarian.  She tells us that she had "an amazing library career" but that she is astounded to "have found a new area of work that gives me great satisfaction even beyond what my library career gave me" working in the NHS.  I was also interested to hear about the similarities that she has identified between the NHS and the library sector, as well as the heavy use of library skills in her current role.

Name: Jo McCausland

Current role: Improvement Project Manager, Strategy and Transformation, Sheffield Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Former role: Prior to working for my current Trust, I worked in a similar role for Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and prior to that I was a Project Manager working for Sheffield City Council Business Strategy and as part of that role was working with Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group on health and social care integration. Before that I was unemployed for 9 months and applying mostly for public library management jobs. Before that I worked for several years on a range of library development projects on temporary contracts. Before that I was a mainstream public library manager.

What led you to move on from libraries? Accepted that after many months of job hunting while unemployed that I wasn’t going to be appointed to a role in mainstream public library management. I also came to the realisation that the emerging public library landscape was not going to play to my strengths in developing and improving services.

What do you do in your current role? I have a lead responsibility for improvement projects related to clinical pathways, business units and in-patient services in Sheffield Children’s Hospital which is one of the 4 specialist children’s hospitals in the country alongside Alder Hey Birmingham Children’s and Great Ormond Street Hospitals.

What library skills do you use in your current role? Research; enquiry skills; information gathering, organisation and dissemination; data analysis; benchmarking; performance analysis and management; stakeholder engagement and management; project management; change management; planning; influencing and negotiation; political awareness; leadership and management.

Do you think that your library skills helped you to get this position? No. That said, I have spoken with numerous NHS colleagues about the surprising similarities between the two sectors in terms of organisational development, change management and service transformation. I’ve found existing skills equally applicable within a culture and ethos that puts patients (i.e. customers!) at the heart of our services.

What other skills have you had to acquire since leaving the library profession in order to enable you to carry out your work? More knowledge than skills I would say e.g. infrastructure, funding mechanisms and tariffs, terminology and acronyms, national and local targets and penalties for non-compliance etc.

Do you maintain any professional memberships or are there new ones which are more appropriate? No

Do you have any future plans/aspirations? I plan to see out my working days contributing to making things better in my local NHS. Having now turned 50, it astounds me that I have found a new area of work that gives me great satisfaction even beyond what my library career gave me. I know that my presence makes a difference and even if I was to ever doubt it, all I have to do is walk down a hospital corridor, nip into a ward or visit a clinic and I’m reminded of why I’m here!

Anything else that you’d like to tell us? I had an amazing library career and worked with some fantastic and committed people who went far above and beyond despite circumstances. I always thought library people were special people but I find the same attitude and behaviour with my NHS colleagues so feel quite ‘at home’.

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