My QI coaching journey


The Improvement Coach Programme from Newcastle Improvement is a 16- week course designed to develop improvement coaching skills. It gives participants the tools they need to support staff and teams with quality improvement in the workplace.

There’s a limited time to sign up to the course that starts in April 2022. Here two previous participants share their experiences of the programme.

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Lorna Clark, Assistant Director of Pharmacy – Patient Safety and Governance/ Trust Medication Safety Officer

“I took part in the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Coaching for Improvement Training Programme to build my knowledge of improvement, but also to give me the skills to pass this knowledge onto others.

“My role involves reviewing incidents that occur within Pharmacy with the Pharmacy Datix Group, a group of section managers trained in incident investigation. We discuss incidents that have occurred and identify actions that may prevent recurrence. Some of these actions may be more complex, require input from several areas and can lead to quality improvement projects. Taking part in the IHI Coaching for Improvement training and filling my toolbox with improvement tools has given me the confidence to take some of these quality improvement projects forward.

“As a senior pharmacy manager, I have always enjoyed coaching individuals and helping them to become the best they can be. Coaching the team in improvement has allowed me to extend this to a group of very different individuals, which has been so rewarding. We have shared the highs and lows of QI and learnt a lot about teamwork and testing change along the way. The team lead felt supported as he started his leadership journey and the whole team has learnt so much about improvement methodology.

“I couldn’t have asked for more support from Newcastle Improvement. They are always happy to help, particularly if you are trying something new and don’t feel very confident to lead on it.

“Coaching for Improvement has been such a positive experience for me so far and I would highly recommend the course to others.  Guiding a team of Pharmacy colleagues through an improvement project, hearing their change ideas, watching them become empowered to make those changes and reap the benefits has been so rewarding for me as a senior manager.”

Katy Lowery, Northern Radiotherapy Network Manager.

Katy is hosted by Newcastle Hospitals Trust and based at the Freeman Hospital. She works with the radiotherapy centres in the North East and North Cumbria at the Northern Centres for Cancer Care (Newcastle and Carlisle) and the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.

“At the Northern Centres for Cancer Care we are dedicated to improving the quality of care for patients receiving radiotherapy, as well as improving access to the most advanced, innovative treatments and increasing recruitment to clinical trials to drive innovation and research.  I was therefore really keen to access QI Coaching as quality improvement is really high on the agenda for the network and I felt that I needed to improve my own knowledge, skills and experience.

“The programme involved a weekly online training session with the programme facilitators from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) faculty and peers attending the course, as well as additional self-study time to prepare for weekly sessions. And then of course, the time to work with a project team on an agreed project. I was able to choose a project that was already part of our network work programme so I could incorporate this into my normal work. 

“Although I was keen and enthusiastic about the course, if I am honest, I did feel really overwhelmed during the first few sessions at the prospect of coaching a project lead and a project team! I had undertaken some quality improvement training and coaching training previously, but had limited experience of using the skills in practice.

“However, I found the weekly sessions extremely informative and I quickly grew in confidence due to all of the knowledge and tools that were shared. The opportunity to practice the skills during the sessions with a very supportive group of peers and colleagues was also really welcomed. I have taken so many practical tools that I can utilise in my day-to-day work.

“The knowledge and experience of the faculty was a fantastic resource and I learned so much from them. The content in the slides and the useful anecdotes and experiences shared from people working within quality improvement, was extremely helpful to offer practical examples of how the tools and approach could be applied. I have downloaded all of the weekly slides and have already referred back to them several times!

“The Newcastle Improvement team were especially supportive and helpful. It was really useful to have access to their support so I was confident going into the session with my project lead and the team. 

“For anyone considering signing up to the course, I would definitely recommend it. My message would be that we all have a part to play in improving quality and the journey will be easier if we are all going on it together.”