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“As a woman you can do anything.” Celebrating women in the NHS

“As a woman you can do anything.” Celebrating women in the NHS

Proving people wrong, taking the plunge, and looking after the little things. These are the statements of women working in hospitals speaking ahead of International Women’s Day (Friday 8 March).

Women form a vital part of the workforce in the NHS and serve in all areas of the hospitals run by Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust. Three women spoke about their experiences working in jobs more often held by male colleagues.

International Women’s Day is a global celebration of the achievements of women, giving the chance to raise awareness of gender disparity and ongoing problems of discrimination.

Paula: taking the plunge

Paula Theobalds, Digital Midwife

“I’ve been a midwife for 15 years but before that I worked for an accountancy firm. It was only once I had my children that I thought about becoming a midwife. So many people told me not to retrain and said that going to university at my age would be a mistake but, at the ripe old age of 35, I took the plunge, and I went back into education. This is probably what I’m most proud of.

“After 13 years as a community midwife I became a digital midwife, which is a role where we link clinical maternity and IT. This involves, for instance, getting midwives to work on digital platforms as opposed to carrying paperwork. We look at how our systems work so that they do exactly what is needed for the midwives working on the wards and in the community.

“I want to improve things for our midwives which will in turn improve things for our service users. I’ve been where they are.

“I think it’s brilliant that we celebrate women and the achievements that we make. We’re showing our children that as a woman you can do anything, there’s a lot more doors open to women now.”

Emma: proving people wrong

Emma Pitcher, Senior Supervisor and Administrative Assistant in Security

“In my current role I train staff in conflict resolution, which is a really important skill to have so that we are prepared for this as part of our daily lives.

“When I speak to women, I get a lot of, "You’re brave in your job.” It is a man’s world”, but there is a need for women in security. It’s not just men who are aggressive, and sometimes women are better at dealing with it than men are!

“I’ve stuck it out for nearly 18 years. I now train security, I train most of the hospital, I’m progressing in my career. That’s what I’m proud of, proving people wrong.

“To me, International Women’s Day means showcasing women that are exceptional in the jobs that they do, that you wouldn’t necessarily imagine them being in. And proving society wrong – that women can do anything when they put their mind to it.”

Sheryl: it’s the little things that have a big impact

Sheryl Westwood, Porter

“Being a porter involves everything from fire alarms going off to medical emergencies. We’re there if the clinical team need anything, whether that is equipment or bloods urgently taken to the intensive care unit or pathology.

“I always try to make people smile. I get my patients to where they need to be and I do it in the best way possible, with their dignity intact. It’s just about being friendly and having a chat with them, putting them at ease.  It’s the little things that can have a big impact. One of the things I always make sure to do when I take a patient to a ward is to pass them their call bell so that they can call someone if they need them.

“I think it might be nice for some of our female patients to have a porter who is a woman, but other than that I don’t really think about it. I’m just one of the team and I do the same as everyone else.”

If you’re interested in finding out about a career at Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, visit our website on where we advertise vacancies in everything from clinical roles to estates and facilities.

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