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Ashleigh Jack

County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust

Ashleigh Jack plays an integral role when it comes to patient safety in the NHS and since graduating from a University of Sunderland apprenticeship she now has the knowledge and skills to help develop the service further. As one of the Patient Safety Managers at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust (CDDFT) Ashleigh’s job is about maximising the things that go right and minimizing the things that go wrong for patients in the Trust.

I applied for a job as a trainee medical secretary in the Trust in 2004 and undertook some secondments before moving into clinical governance permanently a few years later, where I discovered my passion for patient safety and quality improvement, as well as organisational development.

CDDFT has given me lots of opportunities to move around and held my interest, as well as undertake several formal qualifications which is why I haven’t needed to move on. I also love working in the NHS and in a hospital environment.

When I found out about the apprenticeship with the MBA, it was too good an opportunity to miss, undertaking some of the learning within work time, especially with a young family at home, was perfect for me. Quite a few colleagues have done it or are doing it, encouraged by the Trust, and like them I jumped at the chance.

The first module really took a deep dive into who you are in your role and how you impact others, as well as how you contribute to the strategic intent of the wider organisation.

It changed how I think and operate, giving me the confidence to speak up and to make important changes at work.

Each module assignment directly related to my work, which not only benefited myself, but also my team in terms of projects and workstreams. Everything you learn is absolutely applicable and relatable. The theory and research made me think critically and writing academically at that level has certainly helped with report writing in my role.

Recommendations I made in my Dissertation are now being implemented in the organisation as part of our implementation of the new Patient Safety Strategy.

It wasn’t always easy, managing a full-time job and a young family, with a new job and house move thrown in for good measure! But this was something just for me as an individual, and now I’ve finished it I miss it.

I would recommend an apprenticeship to anyone if you want to develop yourself both professionally and personally; you really have nothing to lose!

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