NHS IMAS offers National Health Service (NHS) organisations that need short or medium term support, the means to access the management expertise that exists throughout the NHS.

Life on assignment: Jo Stephenson

NHS IMAS pool member, Jo Stephenson, discusses her experience on an NHS IMAS assignment.

Having worked in Communications within NHS England, the Department of Health and, before then, NHS Connecting for Health (as was), I registered with NHS IMAS because I felt ready for a change of direction.

I hadn’t deliberately set out to be a communications specialist in my career but, like so many of us in the NHS, I found myself going with the flow of several restructures and moving between various organisations as work and business needs changed. I really see the value of working in such a flexible way but I began to realise that, without having made a conscious decision, I had somehow got myself into quite a niche area and it was time to broaden my horizons.

NHS IMAS contacted me about a number of roles which had come up within the Change and Programme Delivery Team (C&PD) at NHS England. The one I was particularly interested in was the Head of Operational Support role and I was delighted to be successful at interview for a 12 month secondment.

The C&PD team supports the delivery of priority programmes and projects across NHS England by providing a single point of access to high quality programme and project management, and change support. At the point when I joined the C&PD team, it had been established for about two years and was working at absolute capacity to meet demand. There was recognition that the director and deputies needed time to focus on developing the programme direction to meet future needs as NHS England’s role within the system continued to evolve. My job, therefore, was a newly established post to support the operational needs of the team and take on the day to day running of the business management function.

In March, the secondment role was advertised as a substantive position and I’m delighted to say that I was successful at interview and am now permanent within the C&PD team.

As much as I loved working in communications I knew I needed a new challenge. When I initially looked at the C&PD secondment roles coming through NHS IMAS, I felt I was more suited to a different role to the one I was successful in. I’m not sure I would have put myself forward for the Head of Operational Support role because I felt I didn’t meet all the criteria, but through discussion with NHS IMAS colleagues, I was able to see how the role fit my skillset. That was invaluable personal insight and gave me the confidence to put myself forward for something which wouldn’t naturally have been on my radar.

In my new role, I use my contacts and communications skills every day, alongside my knowledge of public sector processes and line management experience. However, I’m simultaneously enhancing my skills in business management and strategic leadership which I feel is developing my potential for the future. I wouldn’t have got the permanent role if it hadn’t been for the secondment through NHS IMAS – it was a really rewarding experience all round!

If you are interested in becoming apool member with NHS IMAS, please contact us on 01138251572, or email us at nhs.imas@nhs.net.