I started life as an Occupational Therapist
I first got interested in Occupational Therapy when, as a school student, I did voluntary work at a paediatric ward in Newcastle. I felt drawn to health care and liked the idea of enabling people to reach their potential despite ill health or disability.
I moved from Newcastle to train at Dorset House School of Occupational Therapy in Oxford where I spent three very happy years training in Oxford and London. I loved Oxford and had many a 'punting party' which seemed to help the studies!
I graduated with Distinction and really struggled to know which field of OT to work in initially, as I loved all my placements and the variety of roles as an OT is one I graduated with Distinction and really struggled to know which field of OT to work in initially, as I loved all my placements and the variety of roles as an OT is one of its great attractions.
However, I decided to work in a spinal injuries unit in Hexham, Northumberland which I loved. Being able to work alongside, encourage and rehabilitate people who had spinal injuries was so rewarding. I really got to know patients as people, and the home visits, for what were usually major adaptations to homes, was major work. I covered from Northumberland to the Lake District and a home visit usually with me, a social worker and physio would be an 'all day affair'.
When I got married one of the very special moments was the 'guard of honour' from the patients in their wheelchairs at the church - very special.
Marriage brought me to London where I specialised in stroke rehabilitation and then general rehabilitation. I became Head OT at Whipps Cross Hospital and then Head of Therapies.
People often said OTs make good managers as organisation is their middle name. So management came looking for me and I became a general manager in medicine, then surgery. Then moved on to work as a director in women's and children's services, a director in mental health and then community services. My first CEO post was in April 2001 and I carried out a number of CEO posts in the NHS until I joined the Hospice in May 2011.
I loved being an OT - it's a fantastic career if you love people and you love enabling things to change and happen. I know first-hand what an amazing job our OTs do and I am proud of the work they do with our patients.