Sarah McKerracher talks to us about her first 30 days at Attain

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Tell us a little bit about yourself

I joined Attain’s Service Transformation team in September 2017 after relocating to London from Perth, Western Australia. Moving to the UK has been a timely new challenge and adventure to embark on as I approached new transition points in my career and life, after having graduated from my MBA earlier this year. I am thrilled at the opportunity to continue growing my career in the healthcare improvement sector where I can actively influence and improve delivery of equitable and accessible care across all sectors of the community.

My career to date includes a collection of experience working across the Australian health industry which is of great similarity to the NHS. The majority of my experience has been in government department of health roles, similar to those in NHS England and clinical commissioning groups, following on from earlier health promotion/community engagement roles in the not-for-profit sector and trainee roles as an exercise physiologist in a private orthopaedic and allied health clinic.

I consider myself a collaborative change leader with experience across a range of systemwide reform projects, bringing diverse stakeholders together to solve complex problems and improve service delivery and patient care. Highlights of my career have included project management roles during a systemwide reform program to transition the entire governance of the WA health system, undertaking an agency expenditure review of community setting services, and also a number of projects reviewing and implementing change in the delivery of efficient and effective hospital services.

How have your first 30 days been at Attain?

The first 30 days have been remarkable and rewarding. They started with a flurry of emails from my new colleagues taking their time to say hello and individually welcome me, and the induction programme has been well planned, individually relevant and engaging. Attain have gone out of their way to help facilitate my transition from the Australian Health System as I expand my understanding of the UK health system, how it operates in practice and translate my experience. Some examples have included pairing me with other colleagues who’ve worked in Australia, opportunities to shadow delivery teams as well as the usual well supported mechanisms in place during client facing roles.

I was also fortunate to attend a quarterly company meeting within my first fortnight which was ideal for meeting numerous people face to face and establishing relationships with peers across the various company teams. I also have an extremely supportive and helpful buddy. Most of all it has been inspiring to meet so many diverse, capable, intelligent and personable colleagues who are all genuinely motivated to work together and problem solve to make a difference.

What attracted you to Attain?

I came across Attain when I saw a couple of their roles advertised in the HSJ and when I went to their webpage and started researching deeper I couldn’t believe my ‘luck’. Attain’s values, mission and business model couldn’t be a better fit for my own career aspirations, personal values and capabilities. Every stage of Attain’s recruitment process only inspired me more to want to join the team both in terms of the people/culture and the portfolio of projects they engage in, so I feel privileged to be part of this authentic and progressive organisation.

What’s the best thing about being employed with Attain?

Attain’s authenticity. The people, leadership group and culture are all genuinely aligned to partnering across the health and social care sector to make a positive and sustainable difference. Attain achieve this through daily enactment of their values and these are all really evident when you meet the team, experience the work Attain involve themselves in and the value they demonstrate for their staff and clients. For me the stand out is the flexibility and agility of Attain’s workforce and with this the emphasis on wellbeing that empowers you to manage yourself in the ways that enable you to deliver quality work and achieve results on a sustainable basis.

What do you hope the future brings for you with Attain?

I have no doubt Attain’s strong learning orientation will support me to grow and develop my career in the healthcare improvement sector, and in particular to apply and evolve my experience across international perspectives of health system reform. From a leadership development perspective joining the Attain team was a logical step to building my ‘triple sector leadership’ capabilities, having worked in the government and charity sectors, and now joining the private sector. From this opportunity I therefore look forward to evolving my commercial skills and mindset to compliment my strong mission, process and systems leadership qualities, of which are all important for driving improvements in health system quality, innovation and sustainability.