Published: 12 Oct 2020

Donna Hopkins, Quality and Compliance Manager at Ridgeway Biologicals – part of Ceva Animal Health, UK, talks to Daniel Moore about achieving the CQI’s Chartered Membership grade (CQP MCQI), and her plans to move up to Fellowship status in the future.

Daniel Moore: What made you decide to apply for this grade?

Donna Hopkins: I have been considering regrading for a couple of years, as my experience and knowledge of quality had expanded. In 2018, I downloaded the application form, but the whole process put me off. However, I later received an email from the CQI saying that the process had been simplified and additional guidance was provided online, so I applied.

DM: What training and experience has helped contribute to your latest achievement of Chartered Quality Professional status?

DH: In 2018, I secured my first quality manager position at Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, covering microbiology and cellular pathology, and spent a lot of time trying to move my department towards UKAS accreditation. My previous positions had been within GxP facilities, so moving to a role requiring ISO 15189, was a steep learning curve. It was the UKAS Inspection Lead Auditor who made me realise that I was good at my job, and that I should be applying for the grade of Chartered Quality Professional.

DM: How did you find the application process?

DH: The online application process was great because it meant that I could complete the sections in my own time, and revisit evidence to add further information or change it if I felt that it wasn’t quite right for a particular section. I completed everything in draft first, and wrote a number of little side notes to myself about what type of evidence I required or what extra information was needed to be included in my application.

It was easy to then go back into the system, insert information and upload evidence, rather than having to cut and paste it later on. The online process was easy, and there are some useful guidance notes and information that members can refer to when it comes to completing their applications.

DM: What does this grade mean to you as a quality professional and how will this help benefit your career going forward?

DH: I feel really proud to be recognised in this way. It has taken a lot of hard work and long hours to support my colleagues and departments over the years, and often, quality assurance teams are not recognised for the input they make to the overall success of their respective businesses.

I work in an organisation where quality assurance is seen as an important component of the business. I am currently working with the management team to ensure quality is integrated into the whole business.

DM: Are you looking to achieve Fellow status in the future? If so, what steps are you putting in place to achieve this grade?

DH: I am actively looking into this and what is required to be successful in achieving Fellowship status. I already take an active role in training and developing our employees, but wanted to support quality professionals at the beginning of their journey. To fulfil this duty, I’ve  signed up to the CQI’s Mentoring platform because I find coaching really challenges me to improve my knowledge and skills as a quality professional. This programme will also help me to support mentees the best way I can, by passing on valuable teachings and practices that I have acquired during my quality career so far.

DM: What advice would you give to other quality professionals who are looking to move up to CQP MCQI status?

DH: The process is daunting initially, but completing your application online means you can save your progress and come back to it later.

I would also suggest joining the CQI’s Mentoring platform, as it will provide you with the essential skills, experience and CPD that you can take forward in your application.

If you need further advice and guidance, the CQI’s Membership Team are on hand to answer any queries or concerns.

To regrade online, visit: bit.ly/3nfKRL0 and to find out more details about becoming a mentor or mentee, go to: cqimentoring.onpld.com/