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Chevening essay - My journey to becoming a leader

Xti02 5 / 16 9  
Oct 16, 2017   #1
Hi all. This is my first draft, so please be as critical as necessary! I have removed my company name and some details for privacy, but will include it when submitting.

Chevening is looking for individuals who will be future leaders or influencers in their home countries. Explain how you meet this requirement, using clear examples of your own leadership and influencing skills to support your answer.(minimum word count: 100 words, maximum word count: 500 words)

not to lead, but to make a difference

It is said that great leaders set out not to lead, but to make a difference. This certainly describes my journey of becoming a leader and influencer within my organisation.

As a junior doctor, I found myself as part of a bigger team tasked with caring for our hospital inpatients. I was required to follow, rather than to lead, and I was mostly content with this. After all, I became a doctor because I wanted to help people, not lead them. But as I progressed in the hospital, later becoming the sole doctor in charge of the outpatient HIV clinic attached to the hospital, I could no longer sit back and go with the flow.

It started simply with me looking for ways to make a difference in the clinic. I wanted to improve the HIV knowledge of the intern doctors, nurses and counsellors I worked with, I wanted the patients to better understand their disease and its treatment, and I wanted to advocate for better quality HIV care in the rest of the hospital. While doing this, I realised the importance, and indeed the joys, of leading my team towards our goal of improved patient care. I started leading a small weekly discussion group with the nurses, where we discussed clinical aspects of HIV care, and I was able to teach and answer their questions. I asked the lay counsellors to sit in on some patient consultations, in order to mentor them on important topics to cover when counselling and educating patients. I also prepared and presented the latest HIV guidelines for doctors in the Paediatrics and Obstetrics departments in the hospital. These actions assisted in improving our patient care and left a lasting impact after I moved to my next position.

When I accepted my current position as Medical Advisor for XXX, I knew that my leadership skills were going to be tested. As the Developmental Support Partner in the rural YYY Province of South Africa, XXX is tasked with supporting the Department of Health in developing and improving the HIV and Tuberculosis program in the district. Liaising with the Program Leads in our head office in Johannesburg, I am responsible for leading many of the paediatric HIV, adult HIV and tuberculosis activities that we are busy with, including a large TB screening quality improvement plan. I have abundant opportunities to influence colleagues by teaching them during one on one mentorship sessions as well as formal trainings and clinical forums. I also participate in the provincial Clinical Advisory Group, and I took part in finalising the District Improvement Plan earlier this year.

My main aim is to lead and inspire other health care workers to strive towards expanding the HIV and TB program in South Africa, diagnosing those affected earlier, and offering them high quality treatment options.

==> 473 words.

*I'm not so sure about the second part of the essay. Too much detail or not enough? Also not sure if the closing paragraph is strong enough. Advice will be much appreciated.

Holt [Contributor] - / 8,598 2499  
Oct 16, 2017   #2
Christi, the essay is extremely strong in the leadership sense of the discussion. I would change the first paragraph that discusses how you started as a junior doctor. That is not important to the presentation and should be removed. It weakens the opening presentation.

You can open with the current second paragraph instead. By removing the non-important elements, you will free up word count for something that you neglected to present in the essay, a discussion about your influencing skills. It would be nice if you could present one or two examples of your influencing skills in order to better balance the presentation. Even the mentoring role that you presented in the essay was more in line with the leadership than influencing discussion.

You may want to rethink the content of your essay so you can figure out a way to balance the presentation with regards to the two requirements. One paragraph representing each should work to strengthen the essay. A 4 paragraph essay presentation will be more than acceptable. That will be over 100 words but still less than the 500 maximum word requirement.
disneys 2 / 4  
Oct 18, 2017   #3
I wanted the patients to better understand -> to have better understanding

I think you can add another sentence to your closing paragraph. It sounds like only a simple sentence, not like a closing statement

good luck!
bellachyntia 3 / 15  
Oct 18, 2017   #4
Dear Christi,

I started leading a small weekly discussion group of the nurses.
Good essay, but it'll be great if you adjust your opening and closing statement.

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