The American business strategist Tony Robbins says, “By changing nothing, nothing changes.” However, accomplishing change often means pushing ourselves beyond our comfort zone, and breaking away from stable, but often stale, ways of doing things.

In 2015 Nelson Marlborough Health began running a ‘Time for Change’ course which gives participants a toolkit of techniques to drive change. This programme is an adaptation of ‘The School for Health and Care Radicals’, run by Helen Bevan, a leader of large-scale change in the English National Health Service.

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After completing the UK online course, Clinical Governance Support Manager Peter Twamley was so impressed he adapted it to meet our needs and created the five-week ‘Time for Change’ course. 

To date, almost 200 people have completed the course and given it the big thumbs up. Co-presenter Jen Hassloch believes it resonates with people because it encourages participants to take a closer look at themselves. “You need to look at yourself before you can affect change and that can be quite unsettling for some people, but you need to know what makes you tick.”

Jen says her motivation for running the programme is the desire to provide safe, skilled, compassionate care in our community. “If we are to provide excellence in patient care, we have to learn from their stories, make changes and always strive to do better.”

During the course participants are asked to make a minor change in something they do and then sustain it. Jen says this is often harder than expected.

“It might be something simple like changing the way you brush your teeth. Then we look at how difficult it is to change and what you might need to do to achieve it.”

She says this exercise also helps people appreciate the challenges involved in getting someone else to change.

“Resistance to change is also a sign of missing relevance,” says Jen, “So it is important take people with you when you want to affect change, and to ensure they understand the significance of it.”

She also reminds people that you can only change yourself, not anyone else.

“By changing your attitude, your behaviour, and your responses others will seem to have changed.”

The Time for Change course is open to all healthcare professionals in the Nelson Marlborough region. Register through HR Kiosk or email [email protected]