In recognition of International Women’s Day 2021, we have interviewed women working within our Trust. In this interview, we spoke with Angela Potter, Director of Strategy & Partnerships, and asked her about her experiences as a woman working within the NHS, what challenges she feels women working within the NHS still face, and how important it is to her that woman champion and support one another in the workplace.
What is your role in the Trust?
Director of Strategy & Partnerships
What does your role involve day-to-day?
My role enables me to work right across the Trust and with our external partners and stakeholders – it has a focus on developing the work within the integrated locality partnerships and also thinking about the future direction of our services and the Trust. I am currently working with colleagues to help develop the Trust’s strategy and think about our future plans and major pieces of development and quality improvement work that we need to develop and deliver to continue to move services forward as well as developing the plans for the new hospital in the Forest of Dean.
Was there a women, or women, who inspired you to want to work for the NHS?
No one specific, I always wanted to be a nurse and was very focused on getting the number of ‘O’ levels (as they were back then) to enable me to enter into my chosen career.
What has been your most proud moment working for the Trust?
I haven’t really been with the Trust that long and most of it has been during Covid so my proudest moment has been to continue to provide a wide range of support throughout the pandemic and support my team to work in a number of re-deployed roles across the pandemic.
Have you faced any challenges as a woman as your career within the NHS has progressed?
Not really – I started off as a student nurse and was lucky to secure a secondment when I was ready to look for a career beyond my clinical one. I have had the benefit of some incredibly supportive managers who have encouraged me and given me the confidence to go for bigger and more challenging roles which have really helped me progress my career.
What challenges do you feel women working the NHS still face today?
I think many women still have challenges in terms of balancing their home and work-life commitments. Particularly women who want to progress a career and work part-time find that there are very few roles that enable this and whilst many employers promote job sharing as an option, in reality, this is often very hard to achieve.
How important to you is it that women support and champion one another in the workplace?
I think it’s really important that we champion and support women across the workplace – we need to ensure that women have a strong voice and that any aspects of discrimination are challenged and called out so that we have a Trust culture that truly values the contribution that everyone makes.
If you could go back in time, is there any advice that you would give to yourself when you first started working for the NHS?
I didn’t have any career aspirations when I started in the NHS, I just wanted to be a nurse so I was completely naïve about the types of role and opportunities that would be available. So, I would probably tell myself to think a bit more about where I wanted to get to in my career and develop a bit of a better plan as most of my career progression feels more luck than judgement.