An interview with Rachel King

Rachel King

We had a chat with Rachel King who works as a team leader within the NHS about her career journey and more!

“When I was at school, I was set on becoming a dietician, however, due to not studying hard enough at college(!), I decided to pursue Children’s Nursing as a career instead. Unfortunately, it was not something that I wished to continue and left shortly before I completed my second year in training at university. 

After I left university, I worked in my local Wetherspoons for a year. A good friend of mine’s mother contacted me as she was setting up a Referral Management Centre in the NHS and she thought that this would be a good opportunity for me. I attended an interview but unfortunately was not successful and therefore was offered an Apprenticeship Patient Choice Facilitator role in the same department. This was 10 years ago and I am still working in the same department, however on a different role as a Team Leader. 

There are so many opportunities for women in the NHS in an admin role. My advice for those looking to work in healthcare would be to not overthink the role when applying as each role can open up so many more doors for you. Give it a go!

I love working with people and helping other people see their potential. As a Team Leader, I have managed a large number of people over the years all from different backgrounds and abilities. I have seen shy, timid individuals blossom into outgoing members of staff who have either moved ‘up the ladder’ or left our department and gone onto pursue their careers further. 

We work very closely with patients and it is nice to have a positive impact on their lives and going the extra mile, seeing those people I manage receive good feedback from those patients who they have helped, makes me feel proud.”

Challenges and Digital Burnout

“Some parts of people managing is hard. Different people in your team may not always get on and how you manage that is key. I have often sat in meeting rooms with two people who do not agree on a personal level, however, I have always had a great line manager who has supported me through these times. These times I believe have made me stronger as a result.

I work all day on a computer and am often looking at social media/TV when I finish work which can cause digital burnout. I try not to look at my phone half an hour before bed and read a book to switch off from the outside world. When I can, I like to go out on walks to clear my head and meet up with friends where we have a rule not to use our phones to text anyone else and this does work, it is important to remember to live in the moment.

Due to my health issues, I have been shielding since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. I am lucky that I can work from home and have all the equipment that is needed. My job role has slightly changed and I am managing people differently, plus managing more staff due to the change in workload across the organisation. I am fortunate in that I am currently working on the contingency workload and my day to day role has not changed significantly. However, for other Team Leaders in the department, their roles have changed. We are all adaptable, however, as you have to be when working in the NHS.”

The pandemic has affected people’s mental health in different ways. I am lucky to have a very supportive partner who has been supporting me when times are tough and I’m not allowed outside, an understanding family and an amazing group of girls who have been my rock throughout and we are each other’s soundboard when things get tough. Personally, I have not needed to use any support or guidance however I know there are lots of material available.”

The NHS

“The NHS is an organisation that is very passionate about helping people from all walks of life. Whoever you speak to, everyone joined for the same reason – to help others. This makes me proud and I know that everyone is doing their best in their job for the patients.

Before the pandemic, a lot of people would take the NHS for granted when they needed help or support and would express their thoughts over social media. However, during this pandemic, everyone is praising the NHS for their hard work. 

The hard work has been going since the NHS has been founded and this makes me sad that something as big as a pandemic has made other people realise that, especially over the media and filming themselves ‘clapping for NHS’ at 8pm and uploading online for everyone to see.

To work for the NHS, you need to be caring, hardworking and adaptable to change. The processes in the organisation change daily and you have to be able to portray those processes to your staff with no notice given, due to the pressures in the NHS. However, this is something that can be learnt and you have to find your own way of dealing with this.”

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