Ward Manager and Matron
“Since I was a child I have always wanted to help others, initially wanting to become a veterinary surgeon; my work experience in a vets however soon made me realise that I wanted to be able to interact and communicate with my patients so a nursing career was an easy choice for me.
I had a very simple upbringing and I was the first in my family to attend and graduate from university. From qualifying in April 1996 and starting my career within Neurosurgery & Neurology, I have been very fortunate to have worked with so many inspiring people and many female nurse leader role models supporting and guiding me as I worked my way up the nursing hierarchy; becoming a Ward Manager in June 2002 and a mum for the second time just a few month later in October.
Being a mum of two small children, balancing a demanding career and also completing a degree was certainly something of a challenge but also guided me to understand the importance of organisation and process. In 2008 I was fortunate to be appointed to support the NHS Improvement programme with the roll out of the Productive Ward initiative ‘Releasing Time to Care’ to enable clinical teams to organise their working environment to better meet their needs to be able to spend more time at the bedside. This role gave me valuable experience of working with teams to facilitate and bring out their own ideas to improve and defined where I wanted my career to go.
From this experience I secured the position of Lead Nurse for the Fit for the Future team to implement the move into our new PFI hospital, this was a very unique role and required close liaison and facilitation between the clinical teams and the construction team building the new facilities.
Being a female in this primarily male dominated sector was a challenge initially however this transition was made very easy by all involved. It was towards the end of my time with this team that I noticed some issues with my hearing and was eventually diagnosed with Otosclerosis – a degenerative disease affecting the small bones in the ears that results in significant hearing loss. Now, after many surgeries and now an implanted hearing device and more recently a second ‘regular’ hearing aid, I now consider myself partly bionic!
Returning back to my clinical roles of Ward Manager and then Deputy Matron and more recently Matron for the Heart Centre, I initially found adjusting to my hearing disability very difficult however this was made much easier with the assistance of my amazing colleagues through support, understanding, minor adjustments and a sense of humour after a few ‘mis-heard lyrics’ it is now just a part of who I am and gives me a profound insight into the importance of ensuring we support our patients with any communication issues they have.
I have to admit, the last year of everyone wearing PPE has certainly brought new challenges as I am still quite reliant on lip reading but again the care and understanding of my peers has been immeasurable. This year marks 25 years of nursing here at UHNM for me, being a nurse is a huge privilege, every day I am proud to put on my uniform, proud to be part of the UHNM family and very proud to be female. No matter what our gender or disability, I believe that we can all achieve our goals, with the right ambition, guidance, mentorship and support and that nothing should stand in our way.