30 May 2024

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Moving forward – a time for new leadership in hospice and palliative care

Heather Richardson, Director of Academic Learning and Action, talks about a new programme from St Christopher's CARE for aspiring leaders who want to step into, or enjoy, director level responsibilities and more.

Middle aged white woman, smiling to camera with short blond hair
Dr Heather Richardson, Director of Academic Learning & Action

There is a sad and recurrent theme when I talk to anyone involved in developing or leading hospice and palliative care services at present – that the challenges are significant and mounting; at times apparently insurmountable and often overwhelming. It is hard to imagine that individuals, however talented and committed to improving the experience of people dying or grieving will put their hand up to the additional demands of leading end of life services, organisations and systems that are fit for the future. And yet, that is what our sector demands and what our society needs. If we want to perpetuate and further develop the offer of hospice and palliative care so that dying becomes more equitable, reflects contemporary needs and preferences and can adapt to contextual challenges such as a changing workforce, then strong, visionary and positive leadership will be key.

With that in mind, St Christopher’s CARE has been working up a new programme of learning for aspiring leaders who want to step into, or enjoy, director level responsibilities and more. We have designed it to complement other courses available to leaders already on that journey. Our new programme is forward looking, positive in approach and is designed to foster creativity, confidence, relationships, resilience and skills that make the future something to be relished rather than feared. We will focus on people’s agency, their opportunities for leverage and how this increases their efficacy as leaders.

Jessica Pryce-Jones
Jessica Pryce-Jones, Global Executive Coach & Author

We are drawing on insights and expertise from within and beyond hospice, in the knowledge that our space needs innovation, new solutions and a different energy moving forward. The programme is being designed by Jessica Pryce-Jones, a psychologist, executive coach, facilitator and author, well known to the hospice sector for her work on resilience and wellbeing with input from myself and Marie Cooper, coach and senior nurse advisor.

This new programme entitled “Pathfinder Leaders in Palliative Care” will start in September and lasts until May 2025. It invites attendance in person for four days (two at the beginning and two at the end). The remaining 10 or so modules are run on-line, each lasting three hours. In the course of the training, we will encourage learners to lead a project in their place of work – providing access to mentors skilled in the areas of leadership and service development. In addition we offer coaching and a variety of opportunities for peer support. Throughout our time together we will be offering regular opportunities to learners to build personal wellbeing. 

Topics covered in the programme: 

  • Knowing self, values and strengths 
  • Building personal assets and resilience 
  • Building strategic vision and clarity
  • Financial confidence
  • Authentic, centred leadership and gravitas
  • Forward looking transformation and change 
  • Negotiation skills and influencing others 
  • Maximising agency and leverage 
  • Big picture thinking
  • Driving innovation 
  • Building others 
  • Networks, collaboration and partnership working 
  • Being intelligent around risk
  • Intimacy at scale
  • Building personal resilience and wellbeing

The first cohort is being asked to act as co-designers in its detail – with an invitation to reflect on the fit between our proposed content and contemporary opportunities for leaders so that we can adapt and develop the programme as we travel through the programme together. In return the first cohort of learners can expect a significant discount on the price to attend.

If you are UK based, see yourself as an aspiring leader and are recognised in your organisation as having potential in this area we would love to hear from you. Find out more about the programme here and if you are interested to join please complete the brief expression of interest form which can be found on the webpage.

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