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Why wearing two hats is better than one!

Colin Barnes, clinical audit manager

In April 2017 I became a clinical audit manager. Before then, I had worked for 24 years as an adult speech and language therapist which I still do one day a week. I’ve tried wherever possible to make these jobs work for each other, and believe that being an auditor has made me a better clinician.

Through my role as Quality Improvement and Clinical Effectiveness Manager, I have gone from understanding the inner workings of a small team, to being exposed to the complexity of an organisation that employs around 4,000 people; some working in services thatI had genuinely never heard of before. This has been fascinating. I think it’s healthy to say I still don’t understand it all, but our audit and evaluation work certainly helps me.

During this time our Improvement team has been on a journey to increase patient engagement, and to connect Audit, Evaluation, Quality Improvement (QI) and Research together. Another part of this journey has been to promote learning from all of these activities across our services within the Trust.

Since taking on leadership of Clinical Audit for the organisation, I’d say there are two things that have had the most impact on my clinical work:

1. I have become more inquisitive and less likely to trust my established beliefs. In each of the audits I have personally conducted I have been surprised to find good and not so good things I didn’t know were happening. Taking time to examine what is happening has helped me understand how my clinical service works better and make improvements.

2. I read every audit and evaluation report produced in the trust. From this I have been able to take some good ideas to my clinical team with evidence to suggest how they could work and dispel a few myths. I would like to think this has improved clinical care and made life better for our clinical team.

What am I most passionate about? I think it would have to be services working together across the organisation, sharing learning, being prepared to examine the not so good and the excellent to make our services as good as they can be.

Clinical Audit Awareness Week 2019 - #CAAW19