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Staff Career Stories

There are so many fabulous career opportunities in Nursing and Midwifery here at NUH.

Each month we showcase different staff stories so you can see the opportunities available and the routes people have taken to achieve them. All staff who feature in these stories are happy to be contacted regarding careers conversations.

We would love to hear about your own unique career path so should you wish to feature in our staff stories please contact instituteofexcellence@nuh.nhs.uk

Medicine - Janet Bryan

Photo of Janet BryanName: Janet Bryan

Current Role: Ward Manager

Ward/Department: C53

Division: Medicine - HCOP

My parents are Caribbean and came to England during the Windrush. My mother was 18 years old at the time and is now in her 80s, to see me excel in nursing and as a person has made her and the family very proud. Nursing was an area she wished to venture into, but through circumstance it was not to be. For the past 31 years I have worked in a caring environment, working within the community and residential/nursing homes. I have spent the past 27 years gaining a vast amount of experience and knowledge working within the Trust. In 1992 I started work at NUH as a nursing auxiliary, working alongside experienced nurses. This enabled me to gain a vast amount of experience. I did not have the qualifications at the time to get into nursing but this was something I dreamt about. I went to night school and the trust believed in me and I was given the opportunity to be seconded for my nurse training. I gained a vast amount of knowledge; the theory and practical elements of the course gave me a clear understanding of nursing. In January 2011 I qualified with a Bsc (hons) degree in nursing. I have had the opportunity to work on different levels in nursing which gave me a foundation. Nursing has always been my passion to care and help patients, relatives’ colleagues and students is amazing. I remember walking through the doors of the QMC in 1992 with a vision and dream and to be become a ward manager and share the vision to improve patients and staff experience, having excellent support from family and mentors has helped me with this journey. I am very proud to be part of this wonderful NUH Team.

Career advice for fellow colleagues?

My advice would be to follow your dream. Listen to mentors that can give good advice and support you. Mentors will encourage you and help with your development and can share their experiences with you, you may also one day be a mentor who will help and give advice to future nurses and managers.
Come out of your comfort zone, there are amazing opportunities awaiting you. Nursing can be challenging at times but keep going, as nursing in my opinion is the most rewarding job. If you have the passion, drive, enthusiastic and work hard you can do it.

You can contact Janet for more information and advice: janet.bryan@nuh.nhs.uk

Clinical Support - Julie Harper

Photo of Julie Harper

Name: Julie Harper

Current Role: Trainee Advanced Critical Care Practitioner

Ward/Department: Critical Care

Division: Clinical Support

I started as a NQ nurse on D8 and within 18 months started my career in Critical Care as a band 5 on AICU at QMC. I felt like I was newly qualified all over again as there was so much to learn, but the support and resources were great and I really settled in. Three years later I applied for a Band 6 in Critical Care and was successful, being posted on E12 HDU. For me this was a big professional jump and I learnt a lot about myself and what kind of leader I was and aspired to be. I had the best supportive team who pushed me and guided me to face challenges I would have otherwise avoided. It gave me the confidence to rotate into Band 7 shifts and getting a real flavour of the job to a point where I was encouraged to apply, successfully securing a band 7 on D56. This was one of my biggest challenges. I supported the unit through a big change from HDU to primarily an advanced respiratory specialist unit ARCU, whilst also learning more about the role. In this role I developed resilience and how to manage stress which at times was not easy. It also showed me the values of being part of a supportive team no matter how big, it’s important not only for the delivery of high quality care but also looking after yourself. I stayed in this role for almost two years before landing my dream job as a tACCP. I am in my 2nd year and loving every minute of it. Without the experience and support I have had up to now this would not have been possible and I am really excited about the future of this new team and so grateful to be a part of it.

Career advice for fellow colleagues?

1-Embrace every opportunity you can even though some are hard and may be out of your comfort zone, you never know what experiences you will gain and what further opportunities it will bring.

2- Don’t be afraid to ask- everybody has to start somewhere.

3- Be patience- learning takes time and doesn’t just happen overnight. Set realistic
goals and expectations of where you want to be.

You can contact Julie for more information and advice: julie.harper@nuh.nhs.uk

Midwifery - Lisa Common

Photo of Lisa Common

Name: Lisa Common

Current Role: Consultant Midwife

Department: Maternity

Division: Family Health

Midwifery was a new career for me when I started my training in 2005 at the age of 36. However, I knew I wanted to be a midwife in 1994 after having a complex birth and a neonatal admission following the arrival of my son at City Hospital. Seeing the scope and complexity of the midwifery and nursing roles during that time of my life lit the spark for me to want to be a midwife.

I was working as a PA/Office Manager in the NHS when I applied for a secondment to train as a midwife. I had left school with five GCSEs and knew that I needed to prove I could cope with the demands of academic life if I wanted to move on in my career. I went back to college a few years after my son was born to do more GCSEs and A Levels and then on to a degree in English/History/Politics. It was tough working and studying, but it was good experience ready for the clinical and academic demands of midwifery training.

Once I qualified and was practising as a midwife, I went on to complete post graduate modules, a Masters in Research Methods and a most recently, my Doctorate from the Nottingham University Business School. My post-graduate studies have provided opportunities to travel the world and meet so many interesting and diverse people.

My goal has always been to optimise the care and safety of women accessing maternity services and for the whole maternity workforce to enjoy delivering authentic and individualised care. In January 2018, I was lucky enough to secure the post of Consultant Midwife at NUH and I am now ‘living the dream’.


Career advice for fellow colleagues?

  • Always seek out and listen to advice, but be true to yourself and go with your own heart.
  • Always take opportunities to showcase your passion, your talent AND your potential.
  • Don’t be put off by people telling you it’s too early or late in your career for whatever you want to do.
  • Do not assume that other applicants are going to be smarter or better than you – just apply if you are interested – you may be just what they are looking for!
  • Always strive to be kind and true.


You can contact Lisa for information/advice: lisa.common@nuh.nhs.uk

Family Health - Dr Joseph Manning

Name: Dr Joseph Manning Photo of Dr Joseph Manning

Current Role: IHR/HEE ICA Clinical Lecturer; Clinical Associate Professor; Charge Nurse Paediatric Critical Care Outreach

Ward/Department: Nottingham Children's Hospital

Division: Family Health

Joseph is a Clinical-Academic Nurse and a current National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and Health Education England (HEE) Integrated Clinical-Academic (ICA) Clinical Lecturer. He works as a Clinical Associate Professor in Children, Young People and Families Nursing, Charge Nurse for Paediatric Critical Care Outreach Team (Nottingham Children's Hospital), and as the lead for NMAHP research theme for Children and Families at NUH which involves leadership, management, direct patient care, and research .

Since qualifying as a registered children’s nurse in 2005, Joseph has completed a paediatric rotation and then specialised in Paediatric Intensive Care Nursing. He has worked in various roles (transport, Junior Charge Nurse, research nurse) within critical care as well as completed post-graduate qualification before completing his PhD in 2015. Joseph has then undertaken clinical research fellow and Clinical-academic senior research fellow posts whilst maintaining his clinical activity before taking on his current role.

Clinical academic careers are not as well established in nursing as they are in other professions and therefore along my journey there have been barriers due to understanding of what a clinical-academic is, and what does the role look like. I have managed to overcome this by working in an organisation (NUH) which is committed to supporting nurses to have meaningful concurrent engagement in clinical practice and research as well as working with people to take them on the journey and share the vision.

Career advice for fellow colleagues:

Surround yourself with like-minded people- I have been so fortunate to work in an organisation that is committed to developing nurses to pursue clinical-academic careers. I credit NUH and the tremendous nursing leaders that we have here as part of my success.

My patients and families are central to everything I do whether that be research or clinical practice. Therefore, draw motivation from the desire to improve their experience and outcomes to help you overcome any barriers you may face.


You can contact Joseph for more information and advice: joseph.manning@nuh.nhs.uk

CAS/Corporate - Sarah Brand

Photo of Sarah Brand

Name: Sarah Brand

Current role: Senior Research Nurse/Practice Development Lead (Clinical Research)

Ward/Department: Renal Unit/Institute of Nursing & Midwifery Care Excellence

Division: CAS/Corporate

I worked on both medical and surgical wards after qualification and then settled in Critical Care for a number of years. A Research Role within the Renal Department became available and I took this up with very little research experience. The main challenge was doing a role which was outside routine clinical practice and did not belong to any ward or area team. It took a number of years to feel integrated into the routine clinical team. There was no research ‘team’ (I was the only research nurse) but this was a great opportunity as I have been able to build and develop a team which is now very productive and effective with research clearly embedded into the routine workings of the entire department. I have also been supported to do a Masters in Research Methods and completed a PhD which has enabled me to develop my role into a Practice Development Lead in the Institute. Clinical research delivery is different to academic research, but now that I have expertise in both I can support others to view practice critically, develop ideas and improve practice for our the benefit of our patients. I am also passionate about supporting others to explore the possibilities offered by a clinical academic career.


Sarah’s career advice for fellow colleagues:

I never say no to an opportunity even if the immediate benefits are not entirely clear. I have often found that the benefits become apparent later on (sometimes much later). I have never had a career plan and whilst that may mean that I have not got to where I am by the quickest route, it does mean that I have gathered lots of experience and met lots of people on the way! I don’t think it’s wrong to not know exactly where you are going! I also think it is good to reflect on what at work makes you happy. For me, it’s having patient contact, so I know I would not want to do a job where this is not possible.

Above all, I am really proud to be a nurse and the many varied opportunities which this offers us. Never lose sight of what a great thing it is to be a nurse!


You can contact Sarah for more information and advice: sarah.brand@nuh.nhs.uk

CAS - Zoe Billyeald

Name: Zoe BillyealdPhoto of Zoe Billyeald

Current Role: Band 5 Staff Nurse

Ward/Department: Fraser Ward - Oncology

Division: CAS

After qualifying from the GEN course in 2015 I decided to stay on C31/C32, post management placement. I enjoyed the variety of working on a unit which triaged admissions from GPs, NEMS, EMAS and ED but also had a 32 bedded ward. Here I completed my preceptorship and took on the role of AHLS link nurse. I had however always wanted to work in oncology and when a job came up, after a year and a half I applied and moved to Gervis Pearson. I worked here for 3 months before transferring to Fraser due to family circumstances. I have been on Fraser since then and have had a wealth of opportunities. I am part of the SG team, I attend the NMB board meetings as a band 5 rep, and since September last year I have been doing my Chief Nurse Fellow project in Red2Green.


Career advice for fellow colleagues?

My advice is to say yes to opportunities when they present. Saying yes to things has opened up a number of doors for me and allowed me the chance to grow and develop my nursing skills in a number of ways. 


You can contact Zoe for more information and advice: Zoe.Billyeald@nuh.nhs.uk