Undergoing the Chartership Process

HLG Nursing Bulletin Vol 33 (3/4)

Emma Ramstead
Outreach Clinical Support Librarian
Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

Shortly after starting my first professional post I decided to get chartered.  I felt it was the next step in my Continuous Professional Development and I wanted recorded evidence of how I developed in my first professional post, which skills I acquired and how I advanced in order that I could look back and reflect on my learning process.    It was daunting but it was something that I had always wanted to do.

There was a good support system in the South East so I felt encouraged to pursue Chartership.  I found a mentor and we met every six weeks.  My mentor was flexible and understood if I could not meet deadlines because of other commitments.  It was an informal relationship but he gave me invaluable advice, kept me on the right track and answered any queries which I had.  We decided on a deadline of a year, so my Chartership would be a snap shot of my first year in my professional post.  I knew it would be a lot of extra effort but I wanted to try.

When we first met my mentor showed me the questions which I was to answer and stressed the importance of reflection.   I learnt to reflect and focus on what went well and how I could change aspects for an improved outcome.  I learnt the importance of progressing and improving.  I feel that reflection is a valuable skill and I continue to use it.  I have since reflected on a number of areas in my job; it helps me in the evaluation process.  By reflecting Chartership helped me to focus on how I want my career to develop and look at which areas of librarianship I would like to concentrate on.

Sometimes it was hard to fit Chartership into my busy schedule, it often ended up being after work and weekends.  However there were many advantages; it gave the opportunity to attend different conferences across the country.  I attended: the Health Libraries Group Conference 2012, where I picked up tips about professional writing and which tools to use when evaluating a service; The Developing Research Excellence and Methods (DREAM) conference 2012, where I improved my research and costing skills; and the Careers Development Group National Conference: Together we are stronger 2012, where I reflected on skills which could be used across library services.  I wrote reports on each of these conferences and they were included in my portfolio. 

I was able to take part in projects I would not normally be involved in, in my everyday role.  I became a member of Libraries for Nursing and later went on to be Deputy Chair.  This involves helping chair committee meetings and sometimes taking on the role of Chair.  I joined CILIP Sussex (South East branch) and became the Publicity Officer.  My task is to edit the website.  This was new to me but I have picked up a number of skills.  I also became a member of the South East Career Development Group.

In order to carry out Chartership effectively it is necessary to be passionate about your work, be open to new ideas, be flexible, seize the moment, put time aside and not give up.  You will get there in the end, even if it takes longer than first anticipated.

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