I’m the Operations Manager for the Nottingham Cancer Clinical Trials Team. When I qualified as a staff nurse 11 years ago, I can honestly say this is not where I would have placed myself.
As a newly qualified staff nurse I started out on an acute medical/cardiology ward. I learnt a huge amount. I loved the pace of the ward, the variety, and the patients.
After a short time on the ward I decided to broaden my skills and got a job in the community as a staff nurse. This experience helped me develop a whole new set of skills. I went from the comfort of a ward with people around that you can ask a quick question, to being out on the road in people’s homes making the decisions. It really helped me develop decision making skills and confidence in my abilities as a nurse.
Soon after moving into the community the cardiac catheter suite was being set up at Kings Mill and posts were available there. The opportunity was fantastic, helping to set up develop and work on a brand new unit and service. I was excited by the prospect and applied after encourage from my old ward sister. I was successful in gaining an ‘e grade’ staff nurse post within 1 year of qualifying, I was thrilled!
It was during my time in the catheter suite when I had my first taste of research, when a secondment opportunity came up as a cardiac research nurse. It involved working on one thrombolysis study. It sounded great, I would be helping to shape future medication and evidence based care. I spent 18 months in the post and loved every minute, the attention to detail required, keeping everything in order, the contact with patients in A&E.
This first taste of research opened a whole new world of fantastic opportunities to me. Not only with the people and networking this post allowed, but also the travel. As with all research the study came to an end and so did my secondment.
I started looking for jobs with a research element in them, and by chance stumbled across a position with the University of Nottingham as a Practitioner Health Lecturer on a secondment basis. I got the job and worked half my time in the University teaching clinical skills and half my time in the catheter suite. This gave a unique chance to mix both the practical nursing with the satisfaction that teaching brought and developing my skills in teaching.
As with my research post this secondment came to an end. But now I really had got the research bug and moved to Derby Hospitals as a band 6 Clinical Trials Nurse. I worked closely with the stroke team and went back to my roots as the research was a thrombolysis trial. I had the chance to develop my case holding skills and become more specialised in research.
After a couple of years I was successfully appointed as Research Team Leader and I moved back to Kings Mill. This post involved growing and developing a research department, and I learnt a lot about research governance. This job also gave me my first taste of corporate management and I loved it, learning and being involved with Dr Foster, NHSLA, and CQC issues.
As part of this role, I worked closely with the Nottingham Cancer Clinical Trial Team, and it’s at this point were I learnt of the Operations Manager post that I have now. I was successfully appointed into the position and the rest as they say is history. I love my job, the challenges it presents and developing myself further. I enjoy managing a large team, and the satisfaction of helping to develop people within my team.