60 seconds with deputy chief operating officer Vicky Stevens
Nursing provides opportunities for a rich and varied career, so don’t pigeonhole yourself, says deputy chief operating officer Vicky Stevens.
Nursing provides opportunities for a rich and varied career, so don’t pigeonhole yourself, says deputy chief operating officer Vicky Stevens
After qualifying as a registered general nurse in 1988, Vicky Stevens held clinical roles in London at St Thomas’ Hospital, Lambeth Community NHS Trust and at a general practice in Stockwell. She joined Kent and Medway in 1997 as a ward sister and in 2014 was appointed service development lead for older people’s services. She is deputy chief operating officer and director of the older adults care group at Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust, a role she has held since April.
What are your main work responsibilities?
I am accountable for older adult services and responsible for the transformation of the trust’s operational services.
Who are your clients/patients?
A broad range of adults with mental ill health across Kent and Medway.
What do you love about your job?
My deep-rooted passion for the NHS keeps me motivated to do all I can to ensure people who need access to our services have a positive experience that supports their health and well-being.
What do you find most difficult?
Recruiting staff can be a challenge as many trusts are competing for new talent.
What is your top priority at work?
Ensuring patient safety and service quality are at the centre of everything we do.
How have you developed your skills in this role?
I completed a master's degree in leadership and service improvement in healthcare at London South Bank University in 2014. This helped develop my skill set.
What has been your most formative career experience?
My nurse training taught me so much about myself, my value set, and how I interact with the world.
If you hadn’t become a nurse, what would you have done instead?
I considered becoming a primary school teacher. I am interested in systemic thinking and how the whole system fits around the person, which is crucial in education and health.
What is the best lesson nursing has taught you?
Patience, and to always remember that everyone is someone’s relative or friend.
What career advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t pigeonhole yourself. Where you start off doesn’t have to be where you end up. When I qualified as a general nurse, I would never have imagined I’d end up as a director at a mental health trust.