#4 Kim Bellis: FEDIP Leading Practitioner
We often hear from the community that practitioners are interested in getting an insight into what other health and care informatics professionals are up to.
We have an extra special guest to the blog today: Kim Bellis
Not only is Kim one of our Leading Practitioners but we were delighted to have Kim join Team FEDIP as a Programme Manager in January this year.
Whilst we are keeping Kim busy with lots of work, we added to her already long to-do list by asking Kim about her career and her views on the profession's future.
1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your career journey so far
After 42 years working in the NHS in a variety of roles, I have taken the step to become self-employed and I am now working with FEDIP as a Programme Manager. My expertise is in records management and data quality and until recently I held a senior manager position in an acute Trust for the last 16 years.
I also worked in the IT department as a Senior Project Manager, helping implement software to underpin the delivery of patient care. In 2002 I was seconded to work for the Department of Health for 12 months, leading the implementation of Copying Letters to Patients in the Southwest. I have been a member of IHRIM for over 30 years and I am a Fellow of the Institute.
I have been on the Board in various roles and until recently served 13 years as Chairman which resulted in being awarded the Royle Mansell Award, the highest accolade the Institute can present to a member, for outstanding and sustained contribution to the work of the Institute over and above what would usually be expected of a member. My role on the Board now is Director without Portfolio, which has allowed me to take on the role with FEDIP.
I am passionate about professionalism and I was involved in the very early days of the inception of FEDIP working with UKCHIP.
2. What is one thing you wish you had known when you began your career?
It would have been good to have seen a career structure to be able to navigate my way through the administrative and management levels in the NHS, particularly in an acute NHS Trust.
3. What advice would you give to someone who wants to advance in the profession?
Talk to others in the profession and ask them to share their experiences.
Having a coach/mentor provides good support to talk things through.
Do some research on the training, and qualifications which are available to you.
Always consider a sideways move when advancing your career, sometimes you may need to do this to get the breadth of knowledge before moving up the ladder.
4. What are the best resources that have helped you along the way?
Your peers provide a huge amount of support and advice, I found this a great resource. The Institute of Health Records and Information Management (IHRIM) has provided me with my qualifications as well as a mechanism to seek advice and share information. The Records Management and Patient Services Standards Handbook has also provided a structured methodology to work through ensuring that important areas are not overlooked.
5. What is the one common myth about your profession or field that you want to debunk?
When I joined the NHS in 1980 there was a myth that anyone who worked in medical records must be an older person, usually female, wearing a cardigan, who had her knitting on the desk and the department was certainly out of sight and out of mind and usually in the basement – it reminded me of the advert for Shreddies – Knitted by Nanas quality control!
So those people who know me, know that I prefer to call the area that I worked in as Health Records and not Medical Records. The Institute of Health Records and Information Management changed its name during the 1980s from the Association of Medical Records Officers (AMRO) to encourage a more modern approach and visibility of a professional body of staff. This gave us the platform to make some noise and get noticed and tell everyone that you did need to know your stuff to work in administration, there is data protection, confidentiality, records and information management, compliance with legislation, data quality and the list goes on. We are a professional group of staff who only want what is best for our patients, clients and individuals who come to use our services.
6. What do you think is going to have the biggest impact on health in the next 5 years?
Delivering care in people’s homes. Data Quality is an area that is going to come to the fore as more information is being entered and stored electronically, you don’t just stop managing it because is has become electronic. More importantly, it is paramount that you sort out your information processes now by recording information in a paper format before you move to electronic media, otherwise all you are doing is moving the ‘mess’.
7. How do you continue to learn in order to stay on top of things within your role?
Networking is a great way to stay on top of things and learning about new things that could affect your area of work. I am hoping that in my new role with FEDIP that I will have some time to ‘horizon scan’ to keep on top of what is going on. Signing up for publications and newsletters is also a good way to keep on top of things. In the past, I undertook qualifications in several areas, but being out of practice now, I am not so sure about sitting examinations anymore!
8. What do you think is the biggest challenge for the profession and how should we overcome it?
Certainly, for the area that I have worked in previously, it is getting people that handle records and information to understand that they are health informatics professionals and they are to be valued for the work that they do. I would like to see administrative staff have the opportunity of reskilling/upskill, especially with the electronic patient record being implemented. This group of staff have some excellent transferrable skills that could be used in other areas.
9. Fellow Leading Practitioner Owen Powell would like to ask: what job did you think you’d be doing when you were at school?
A seamstress – making clothes! I did do this for about three months before joining the NHS. I do have a sewing machine, but it doesn’t often see the light of day now!
What are you most looking forward to about working with FEDIP?
Working with such motivated individuals who are passionate about making a difference for the profession, I want to be a part of that.
We hope you find the insights into the various health and informatics career journeys interesting and will join us in thanking Kim for sharing some excellent advice. Kim is working on some very exciting projects for FEDIP at the moment and we look forward to shining a light on her work in the future!
We look forward to introducing you to more of our Leading Practitioners as the series continues.
If you are a Leading Practitioner (or perhaps you have had an interesting career path you would like to share with others!) and would like to be involved in the series yourself, please do contact us at email@example.com.