Sometimes it is good to see the world from another viewpoint. We can all get very focused on our priorities, roles and responsibilities. Occasionally it can be worth swapping seats and seeing how the world looks from a new angle.

Doing this can be energising and offers a useful insight into what can make a difference. I was lucky enough to have had the opportunity to do this in two settings.

The first was spending time in general practice. I got the challenge to come down from my ivory tower - well, some people think this is the home of the primary care trust - and remind myself of the everyday experiences of doctors and their patients.

I have to say it was one of the best days I have spent in a while. It was interesting to see the patients' perspective at close hand and their engagement in choices regarding their treatment.

I was lucky enough to be shadowing a highly motivated colleague who really enjoyed being a GP. The GP liked the patients and the patients liked the GP. This mutual respect and trust generated a very effective service.

The practice was evidence-based but still warm, friendly and sympathetic to those who were poorly. I recognise that even with all our advanced technology, a little bit of TLC - which means tender loving care, in case you have not come across it lately - goes a long way.

The second day was with a group of consultants from one of the local hospitals. We had an interesting time sharing reflections of our organisations and our plans for the future and found we have quite a few areas of mutual interest.

We are now in a position to build a programme that will improve the outcomes for patients and provide a win/win situation for our trusts' plans. Again, enthusiasm and commitment to the job was my overwhelming view of the group.

I offered both the GP and consultant group the opportunity to see the world from my standpoint and I hope that they will take it up. I think they would find the same commitment from my colleagues as they are offering to their patients.

The difference is that we tend to concentrate on the whole population - the greatest good for the greatest number - while they concentrate on the needs of individual patients.

I have always enjoyed this healthy tension in the system and believe that this is one of the best aspects of our current NHS.

Have you thought about changing the view and allowing yourself to see the world from another perspective?

Why don't you get out and shadow a colleague? You might be surprised by the ideas and energy you get from the experience. It can also be fun; I know I really enjoyed my experience and hope I find time to do more of this in the coming year.