MSc Healthcare Leadership Programme Director, Dr. Patrick Marshall discusses key changes in healthcare, benefits of studying this MSc, and what the perfect candidate looks like.
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[MUSIC PLAYING] - It's a really interesting question. And I think it's got a lot to do with what happened to us during that pandemic. And I think ultimately what we saw was the importance of all health care systems to all populations. And I think for me the humbling thing about it was that we could see as that pandemic began to move from east to west how different countries and different systems try to cope with it.
And what was fascinating was that I think we began to notice that nobody was immune from other people. And the experiences of, say, what was happening in China was related to what was happening in Germany, was related to what was happening in the UK, was related to what was happening in the US.
And I think that whole sense of understanding that we live in this very complex system, which is connected even when it doesn't seem to be connected, is why master's programs, like the one I get to be program director for, are so important because what it allows people to consider to explore and to think about in their own practice is what that actually means.
And it doesn't just mean getting through the day. It's that stepping back, looking at the large picture, understanding where some of these large global trends are coming from and where they're going to and what we can do about them because as human beings, we are massively resourceful. We can do all sorts of things if we collaborate, if we connect, if we are compassionate enough to hear each other.
And that works in inside health care systems as well as in that global context. And I don't want to only say this is about global because this masters is for everybody. It's for people in the NHS. It's for people in whatever health care system you work in because what you will get exposed to is the experiences of all the people on the course. And they come from multiple areas, multiple parts of individual systems.
We will have people from social care. We will have social workers. We'll have a whole host of people, people from business, people from wholly different sectors who are interested in what health care leadership can offer them and their part of the world and their part of the context.
And all of those different perspectives and different points of view genuinely become that community of practice, which I think does allow us to sort of see that there are ways out, however worrying, however scary sometimes it can feel when you don't perhaps get what you need from a health care system. Well, actually, someone somewhere is working on a solution to that.
And the research in health is global. And I think ultimately the leadership in health care is global too. And what our master's program tries to do and what this whole idea of the amount of change that's happening is that understanding that we are not just these single individual health care systems. But we are part of a much more complex wider system, which can, when accessed and when connected properly, offer us different solutions and ultimately better solutions
Personally, there is something really important about achieving mastery of anything. And I think one of the points of all master's programs, but particularly this master's program for health and social care professionals, is that yeah, you get that MSc. You get that label.
You get those postnominal qualification, those letters, the letters MSc after your name. Those are important for you as a personal marker of how far you've come, of what you've learnt, of what you can now do. There's something really important about that.
It's also brilliant, I have to say, for your families. Your families put up with you working hard, sometimes working really crazy times of the day and night. You're not coming home or coming home very tired. And just sometimes when they see you up on the stage and getting your degree, that's really powerful. So don't underestimate the personal buzz you get from getting a qualification like a master's degree from a university.
I think the other really positive personal thing you get is that confidence. Many, many people I come across in health and social care will sometimes feel that imposter syndrome. They may find themselves leading a team. They find themselves in a new role. And then they say, well, am I good enough? Do I know enough? Can I do this?
Well, this kind of qualification helps you quell that worry and say, well, of course, I am. I know things. I know stuff around this. I understand. Of course, some of what we teach you is it's complicated. And it's ambiguous. That's OK. But understanding that can help you not panic about that sense of not knowing everything. You haven't got to know everything. What you've got to do is understand why things are coming out at you in certain ways and what you might do with it. That's the important thing. And that's what we will do.
Professionally, it can be promotion. It's going to do you no harm at all having a master's qualification as you go for the next stage, as you have a work appraisal. Whatever your system requires, it's going to be useful. And I think you can also say that your organization, the organizations you work for, where you practice leadership will get real benefits from the fact that you or perhaps your organization are investing time and money and resource and energy into this kind of qualification both for you but also because you will be a far more effective leader in that context.
Whether you have formal leadership roles or whether you are just aspiring to them, it doesn't matter. You will be better at what you do. You will feel better about what you do. And ultimately, people will see you as being better in what you do. And those cross that wonderful boundary between the personal and professional because ultimately, we kind of are lots of things, aren't We and we carry our identities around with us.
And this allows that sense of achievement and real standing in that professional sense because it's an important marker of skills, of knowledge, of application. And ultimately, every single person I've ever taught over the 10, 11 years I've been doing this, the pride with which people who get their degree show is everywhere.
It's in your clinical work. It's in their managerial and leadership work. It's in their professional colleague-to-colleague work. It is in your home life. It is in your own quiet moments of personal reflection. It's a very positive thing to do.
So I'm looking for somebody who is interested and curious about themselves. And that sounds like a very selfish thing. Why would I be interested in myself? Well, because if you can't look inside you in a very honest way, then I think the risk is that the kind of leadership you then end up showing is dislocated from who you are as a person.
And I found that the majority of people who work in health care have a capacity for compassion and care as great as I've ever come across any sector. I've worked in different sectors. And I've been around. But in health and social care, there is that kind of almost a pre-existing sense of love-- let's use a very weird word-- for people and about people.
That is the source from which leadership needs to spring. So I'm looking for people who have that compassion. If you're just doing it because you think it's about power and about the exercise of power and showing how strong you are, I would say you're going to have some problems.
And you might get on to our course because you need to be academically good enough or you need to show from your practice that although you may not have those academic qualifications, that your practice of doing your job would be the equivalent of those academic qualifications because I look very carefully at what people do and how they do it and how they write their personal statements.
But ultimately I am looking for people who can be-- who are open to becoming self aware. I'm then looking for people who have a real passion for making their part of health care better, making things safer, improving the quality of things, developing the way we know things are working well and creating more contributions to the evidence base that says, this is good.
That then will require people to be open to risk and be open to challenge. And ultimately what the course will offer and what I'm looking for in people is the ability to deal with that ambiguity and those very hard things that you have to deal with without panicking because what you will find if these people know this-- I'm sure when you work in health care and you work in leadership in health care, the challenge is always that sense of, I can almost not cope with this.
But what this program will do, what this course will allow you to do is be able to ground yourself into those spaces where you can hold that difficult context in a way which allows you not just to be better yourself but to help other people around you be better. And in doing that, you will make your patients and your service users better and safer and more able to lead healthier lives because ultimately this is about all of our experiences.
And if we're not patients yet, we probably will be at some point in our lives, wherever that is in the world. So ultimately, good health care leadership, which is what we're trying to help, and I'm trying to spot those potentially good health care leaders, is a benefit for everybody.