My name is Karol Kuczera. I started my psychological career in the NHS in 2009 when I joined the local Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust therapy service - Time To Talk. Over the last 10 years, I gained extensive front-line experience as a Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist, trauma specialist, Couples Therapist, Supervisor, Counsellor and a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner.
I was born and grew up in Poland and, as a gay man, I have a particular and long-established interest in working with under-represented and marginalised groups. Whilst working for Time To Talk I got involved in a Quality Improvement project helping to reduce health inequalities and to bring positive change for the LGBT+ community. For more information, click here.
Working on this project enabled me to see a much wider picture, sensitised me to systems-wide work, and served as a fantastic springboard to further my career. As a result, I felt much better equipped to apply for the Darzi Fellowship in our local Kent Surrey Sussex (KSS) area. My personal interests have most closely aligned with a project which was put forward by Health Education England to develop an inclusive NHS workforce across the South East. I am passionate about making inclusion, equality and diversity work for everyone - not just in theory, but in practice, so I was lucky enough to find a project that aligned with my values.
The Fellowship is a Clinical Leadership programme, with its roots now firmly established in London, and for the past three years also in KSS. The taught part of the programme (PGCert Leadership in Health) is supported by the London South Bank University. It provides a fantastic, and quite a unique opportunity to work on a project where you can learn and lead transformational change using a systems-wide approach.
Starting the Darzi Fellowship has already been a whirlwind of amazing experiences. I was able to meet, network and discuss my project with people who work at a national level. It helped me to realise that the NHS landscape is very different from what I knew, or was used to. It challenged me to get out of the 'safety' of a therapy room and opened a lot of ambiguity and opportunity for further personal growth. It permitted me to innovate in a system where I previously felt I had limited influence. I already had the opportunity to present at different forums and engage with the most inspiring people. I would encourage anyone who wants to develop their careers and step into leadership and personal development to consider themselves for this programme.