A week in the life of Leona Walsh


Leona Walsh BA (Russian Studies), LLM (Employment Law)


Leona's busy week continues as she flies from Heathrow Airport to Abu Dhabi today with colleague Jeremy Gasson, Associate Dean for the PSU, to attend the Ottowa International Conference on Medical Education (ICME).

ICME was launched by Riphah International University in 2009 to provide a credible platform for interaction of world renowned experts in Health Profession Education and those from developing countries aspiring to reform Health Profession Education in their countries to bring it at par with international standards. The first conference was held in Pakistan which resulted in recognition of Health Profession Education as a specialty in Medical Sciences and the compulsory establishment of Departments of Medical Education in all medical colleges. Encouraged by the response, ICME was then organized in other countries undergoing or planning for reforms in Health Profession Education. ICME has so far been organized biennially in Abu Dhabi, Mauritius and Istanbul (Turkey).

The Ottawa Conference on the Assessment of Competence in Medicine and the Healthcare Professions were set up by Professor Ian Hart (Ottawa, Canada) and Professor Ronald Harden (Dundee, UK) in 1985. Held biennially, they provide a forum for medical and other health care profession educationalists to network and share ideas on all aspects of the assessment of competence in both clinical and non-clinical domains, throughout the continuum of education. Participants include both those new to the area of assessment and those with many years’ experience to share. Ottawa Conferences are committed to encouraging developments in assessment with a view to improving health care and health care delivery around the world. Ottawa Conferences are now jointly organized by AMEE and a local organizing committee.

Leona said, "I'm ready and packed and really looking forward to the Ottowa 2018 conference. I'm especially looking forward to chairing the oral presentations session on Empathy on Tuesday 13th March and delivering the PSU workshop 'Game of Training' on 14th March. Look out for the tweets and pearls of wisdom from the plenaries!".

Follow the conference on twitter here and Leona's tweets here.


Leona is at the Village Hotel, Cardiff today for the Trainee Engagement Forum. The all day event, hosted by the Wales Deanery, is aimed at trainee representatives from all specialties and sites across NHS Wales, and will provide a fantastic opportunity for trainees to work with one another and the Deanery to share information and develop ideas to improve and shape training and education moving forwards.

As well as sharing information and informing trainees of developments in relation to training and education both locally and nationally, the forum will provide an opportunity to seek feedback on areas such as the Education Contract, the Education Contract Attendance System (ECAS) and the revised End of Placement Evaluation Forms (EPEFs). It is also hoped that challenges will be identified and ideas developed around the quality improvement of training, perhaps sharing information from quality improvement projects already undertaken or developing ideas for future quality improvement projects. Bringing together a wide cohort of trainees will provide an opportunity to share best practice across the whole of NHS Wales and improve both the training quality and environment for the future. During the day, Leona and the other delegates will also learn about LINCymru and Quality Improvement, 'The Core' project, and the Welsh Clinical Leadership Training Fellowship.

Leona said, "I am hoping to be able to link to the Trainee Engagement Forum and especially with the Trainee Think Tank to follow up on the research on the effectiveness and take up of the Professional Support Unit amongst Wales trainees."

Check back to the blog tomorrow as Leona prepares to travel to the Ottowa ICME Conference in Abu Dhabi.


Reflecting on the opening day of this year's PSU event, Leona (pictured above with colleagues Trish Moore and Jon Whippey) commented, "It is fascinating to hear the short narrative learning tasks across specialties, working on communities across specialties for the support of resilience and wellbeing".

A full day's programme, led by Dee Gray of Gray's Learning, is scheduled for Leona and her colleagues today, as the Professional Support Unit's event continues in Llandrindod Wells. This morning's sessions include a review of discussions and teaching buddy system, followed by presentations and facilitated discussions from work prepared in February. These presentations will be reviewed and uploaded to the e-learning site for continued shared learning and review.

The afternoon's sessions focus on the practical application of theories to practice (micro and meso levels) and reflection on improving workplace stress. These ideas for improvement will also be shared on the e-learning site. Participants will then discuss and develop their own micro programmes/support to be delivered in the workplace. See Leona's tweets for more details about today's learning.

Once the PSU event has concluded late afternoon, Leona will be travelling back to South Wales in readiness for tomorrow's Trainee Engagement Forum at the Village Hotel, Cardiff. Check back to the blog tomorrow for more details of this event.


Today Leona is travelling to Llandrindod Wells in mid Wales for the annual PSU (Professional Support Unit) event, which will begin late afternoon and continue into Wednesday.

Organised by the Deanery’s PSU team, and held at the Metropole Hotel, the event will be attended by PSU Specialty Leads, Trainee Programme Directors, Local Faculty Leads and Foundation Programme Directors. Discussions will focus on the sharing of best practice in relation to supporting trainees, and to provide an update on the work the PSU has undertaken during the year.

Each year delegates are asked which topics they would benefit from discussing, and in previous years these have included case studies, Occupational Health, and responding to colleagues in distress.

Leona and Jeremy Gasson, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist and Associate Dean for Professional Support, will open the event by providing a general update. This will be followed by a welcome to the programme by Dr Dee Gray, Director of Grays, a business that utilises learning and research technologies to enhance and improve individual and organisational wellbeing, learning and performance.

Read more about the PSU event in Wednesday’s blog and on twitter @LeonaAWalsh.

Background / Monday

Following a career in Interpreting & Translation and working with vulnerable groups, Leona was seconded to the School of Postgraduate Medical & Dental Education (Wales Deanery) to work with Asylum Seeking and Refugee Doctors in 2001. Leona's roles in the Wales Deanery include managing International Medical Graduates, Specialty Training Recruitment and, since 2008 she has been Manager of the Professional Support Unit for doctors and dentists in training.

Leona has led projects such as the first UK National Recruitment, recruitment of doctors to Wales from abroad, and the Remediation and Rehabilitation work-stream for Revalidation of Doctors in Wales. She is an experienced trainer, leading on educational activities to senior faculty in Wales in the area of recognition of issues affecting progression through medical and dental postgraduate training, maximising performance, performance support, mentoring and wellbeing.

Leona completed LLM in Employment Law at Leicester University to expand her knowledge in this area, also a Certificate in Occupational Health Law which has enabled her to advise and operate safely in the areas of occupational health, health and safety, disability and employment law. She has trained in Resilience / Trauma Risk Management (TRiM), and is certified in Realise 2, a strength-based assessment and development tool, and is a qualified Mentor and a NLP Practitioner. Leona's training and experience enables her to work with individuals and organisations to unlock potential, through realising strengths to maximise performance and achieve goals.                                                                                                                                                  

This week, we will be following Leona as she attends the Wales Deanery's annual Professional Support Unit event in Llandrindod Wells, the Trainee Engagement Forum in Cardiff, and the Ottowa ICME Conference in Abu Dhabi. Leona will also be attending an MSc course entitled 'Leadership for the Health Professions' at Singleton Campus in Swansea, and despite this packed schedule, will also be meeting with, and providing support to, trainee doctors and dentists at her office at UHW, Cardiff.

We will be reporting daily on Leona's busy week, so check back to the blog for updates. You can also follow Leona on twitter.


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