In the first in our new series of features profiling NHS communications professionals, Alex Talbott, Communications Manager at Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, talks social media, clones, inspiring campaigns and what’s at the top of his to-do list.
How long have you worked in the NHS?
I’ve been in post for four weeks! However I’ve been working in and around healthcare since graduating in 2009. So I’m long enough in the tooth to have worked in a primary care trust, on practice based commissioning and at a strategic health authority.
What’s top of your to do list today?
Working with our director of urgent care and long term conditions @SethiSimon on our internal communications around patient flow over Easter. I’ll be all about #HomeForEaster, #Red2Green and #EndPJparalysis.
Sum up your approach to comms in 140 characters or less.
Network. Know a little about a lot. Always remain inquisitive and seek to experience the world from the perspective of others.
Which campaign – inside or outside of the NHS – has most inspired you, and why?
Dying Matters. It’s tackling an entrenched taboo head on. Having seen the impacts of not talking about dying early enough with a loved one, I think this campaign is brave in its challenge to healthcare professionals, patients and family members to start the conversation.
Social media at work – best thing since sliced bread or one more thing to worry about?
A brilliant tool both professionally and personally. A way of getting your messages to your target audiences without the influence of a third party editor or producer. It's not a silver bullet and only one part of a communicator’s toolkit, but something we all should understand.
What one thing would make your job easier?
A clone! No, no my mother would say that one Alex is plenty for this world. Back in reality, access to a wider range of digital editing tools. Other than that we’re very blessed to have an executive team here at Yeovil Hospital who understand and back the role of communications in an aspiring and innovative organisation.
Where or when do you have your best ideas?
When I’m walking. I’ll often walk the corridor if I’m trying to sculpt a sentence or connect the dots on a campaign plan.
Your work – what’s coming up next?
The Our Year briefing for staff looking at all Yeovil Hospital has achieved in the last year and what our aims are in 2017/18. It’ll be live-streamed, so keep your eyes on our Facebook and Twitter accounts for more.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
No matter their banding, treat everyone with respect and remember to smile.
From WhatsApp to augmented reality - what’s the next big thing in comms?
Data visualisation. How we model and interpret the vast arrays of data the NHS has on patients and populations has the potential to really help us tell impactful stories to support improvements in the NHS.
Know another NHS comms professional who deserves to be in the spotlight to share their comms work? Nominate them by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.