“I’ve been in nursing for 30 years: in the NHS, the private sector and charities. I originally trained at Manchester Royal Infirmary, and since then I’ve held a variety of senior nursing posts, including most recently director of nursing at BMI Healthcare. Prior to that I was director of nursing & governance at the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability in London, and before that I was general manager/acting chief nurse at the BUPA Cromwell Hospital in London.
Time for a new direction
“I joined Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice in 2015. After my second child went off to university, I’d asked myself, ‘What am I doing?’ I was working for a large group, in a senior position, but that meant I was behind a desk and not seeing patients. It made me re-examine all the reasons I’d gone into nursing in the first place, which was to care for people – not to satisfy shareholders. I knew I wanted to do something more meaningful.
“I’ve loved building up a team of around 40 clinical staff here at the hospice – nurses, medics and therapists. My proudest moments are when I see them heading off to visit a family at home, often laden down with equipment and toys. The way they bend over backwards for the families is incredible: they do all the little extras that make such a difference, like dropping off equipment with a family on their way home from work.
“My ambition for my team is to reach more and more families, and never turn anyone away, ever. I’m an absolute stickler for delivering the highest standard of care, confidently and safely. After all, families are entrusting us with the most precious thing they have – their child. So I have high expectations of my team, which includes constantly working on service development: improving on what we already do, and coming up with new services to meet real needs.
“The simplest things, like enabling a mum and dad to have a peaceful meal together, when that’s normally an impossibility, make it all worthwhile. My own boys are grown-up now; one’s a pilot, and the other is training in accounting and finance. So I know what it’s like to be a busy mum, but this is a different level of need, and my team is here to meet it.”