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  • By Susan Lowe
  • In
  • Posted Monday September 9, 2019

Leadership & Management Training: A Practice Manager’s Learning Diary

Every GP practice manager works under unique circumstances, but education and experience are two key factors to unlocking success in primary care. A professional management certification can provide the skills and knowledge to boost your career.

Over the next few months we will follow the journey of a primary care manager as they embark on a course accredited by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) and tailored to the development needs of GP practice managers.

We will chart their progress and leadership development, find out the key things they have learned on the Thornfields course, and see how they implement improvements at their GP practice as a result of their leadership training.

In the first installment of her leadership and management training diary, GP practice manager Susan Lowe tells us about her background in primary care, why she decided to take an ILM programme and what she hopes to achieve through taking the course.

My leadership and management training diary

Following a 35-year career in both clinical and managerial roles in secondary care, I joined primary care as a practice manager in 2014. I became the management partner of the practice in 2017.

I have a Master’s degree and successfully completed a number of management and leadership courses over the years, as well as completing the Clinical Systems Improvement Course at Warwick Business School and training in Civil Protection and Business Continuity. 

I have worked as an operational manager in a number of large, complex teaching hospitals but have found adapting to primary care a real challenge.

Building a five-year plan for my GP practice

During my first five years at the practice I worked with the clinical team to plan a sustainable future for the practice and we were approaching the halfway stage of that five-year plan.

It was my experience of getting staff to engage with change during the first couple of years that prompted me to register for Thornfields’ ILM Level 3 course – Managing People with Confidence.

I have undertaken lots of leadership courses in the past but I felt I needed to revisit and refresh some of my skills; I wanted to take the opportunity to see how things had changed since I last completed such training.

Tackling the challenges presented by primary care

I found the staff within primary care very different to those in a larger organisation and started to doubt my ability to confidently take them through some of the challenges we were facing. This was due to the variation in work ethics, understanding of teamwork and the overall need to change and how their roles contributed to us achieving this.

I am hoping that this ILM course will give me some up-to-date tools and techniques to help me rebuild my confidence.

A little more about me… I have a daughter who also works as an Operational Manager in the NHS, two Golden Retrievers who help my stress levels enormously thanks to lots of walks through the woods and on the beach, as well as a house renovation project on the go.

Does Susan’s story strike a chord with you? Nationally accredited by the Institute for Leadership & Management, Thornfields’ Leadership and Management programmes equip you with the skills to thrive in GP practice management. Get in touch with us to find out more!


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