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Leading Practitioner Interview: Sue Lacey-Bryant

Updated: Feb 9, 2022



To celebrate the opening of FEDIP registrations for CILIP members, we were delighted to interview FEDIP Leading Practitioner Sue Lacey-Bryant.


PS If you are interested in registering for FEDIP through CILIP, you might like to read more information on how to register here.

Sue is the National Lead for NHS Knowledge and Services at Health Education England, she leads the implementation of the Knowledge for Healthcare strategy.

Sue played an advisory role in the development of the CILIP report on The impact of AI, machine learning, automation and robotics on the information profession. She sits on the UK Mobilising Computable Biomedical Knowledge (MCBK) Steering Group and of the CARE group – Coordinated Approaches to Research and care Embedded.


We are also very privileged to have Sue's expertise on our FEDIP Board.


But we will let Sue tell you about her career in her own words . . .



 


Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your career journey so far

I trained as an information scientist, taking a postgrad diploma. Initially I worked in academic libraries and for The Library Association (the predecessor to CILIP) on the professional education side.


I joined the NHS as an information officer embedded in a public health team in Croydon, where I launched one of the first telephone health information services. Wanting to ‘box and cox’ career and family, I worked as a freelance information specialist for 17 years.


I loved the variety - working on e-CME with Doctors.net.uk, conducting library service evaluations for the NHS, with a core workstream delivering evidence into primary care. From part time knowledge manager with a PCT, I became Chief Knowledge Officer for Milton Keynes PCT, and later a Director of MK CCG. In 2013 I resumed portfolio working, divvying my time between roles with Health Education England – including as Review Programme Manager for the Topol Review - and as a Quality Improvement facilitator.


Leading the development of our Knowledge for Healthcare strategy in 2014, I am now the national lead for NHS Knowledge and Library Services in England.


What’s one thing you wish you had known when you began your career?

Two tips: 1) A wise man told me “Never ask a question to which you do not already know the answer” and 2) a wise woman advised me to “Make sure you learn as much from people you dislike as from those you do.”


What advice would you give to someone who wants to advance in the profession?

Professional boundaries are a matter of mindset; simply follow the work that needs to be done and make it a priority to develop the skills you need, and work with others effectively, without locking yourself into a silo. Build your networks. Share what you learn.

What are the best resources that have helped you along the way?

Two eyes and a mouth, of course. Additionally, as a CILIP member I benefit from our eLearning Hub which offers a wide variety of learning resources including online courses. I like the webinar recordings, which allow me to listen in to experts in their field.


What is the one common myth about your field that you want to debunk?

There is a myth that libraries are about books They are not, they are about people – and to quote Einstein, “Information is not knowledge…. the only source of knowledge is experience”. So data and as evidence from research are just the start, we need to enrich both with the knowledge gained from experience (by staff, by patients).


What do you think is going to have the biggest impact on health in the next 5 years?

There is a huge risk that austerity will continue to drive health inequalities. On the plus side, health technologies including digital medicine are set to revolutionise healthcare.


How do you continue to learn in order to stay on top of things within your role?

Curiosity! There are so many forms of professional development, shadowing, reading, writing articles, as well as courses. I have found studying helpful too – gaining my MSc in 2000, completing an ILM Level 7 as an Executive Coach in 2016. I have a peer mentor too, a Director of Planning for a local authority.


What do you think is the biggest challenge for the profession and how should we overcome it?

Artificial Intelligence poses a huge challenge for information professionals as well as terrific opportunities. The key for us is to embrace it; get ahead of the curve by jumping into the sandpit. Take a look at the CILIP research: The impact of AI, machine learning, automation and robotics on the information profession



 




Sue is passionate about bringing knowledge to bear on #AMillionDecisions by healthcare staff and patients. The National Lead for NHS Knowledge and Services at Health Education England, she leads the implementation of the Knowledge for Healthcare strategy.


As head of profession, creating development opportunities for this specialist workforce is a priority. Sue played an advisory role in the development of the CILIP report on The impact of AI, machine learning, automation and robotics on the information profession. She sits on the UK Mobilising Computable Biomedical Knowledge (MCBK) Steering Group and of the CARE group – Coordinated Approaches to Research and care Embedded.

Formerly Director of a CCG, CKO of a PCT, Knowledge Manager of a PCG, and a Knowledge Architect in the private sector, Sue has extensive experience of shaping innovative roles in Knowledge Management. She received the CILIP Walford Award in 2018 and is an Executive coach

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