Nadine Nolan is a Business and Compliance Manager with GMMH’s Capital, Estates and Facilities Department. She’s worked for GMMH since September 2022 and started her career in NHS Corporate Services after a school work experience placement in 1990.
How I got into the role
I was aged 15 and talking to a career guidance counsellor at school. I wanted to work in hospitals, and they showed me that there were more career opportunities than clinical and opened up the world of NHS Corporate Services to me as an option. My school arranged work experience placements that introduced me to the local NHS Senior Management who guided me in my choice of degree and professional examinations years later to work in Facilities Management.
The mentor I met when I was 15 signposted me to the Social Policy degree, I would eventually enrol on as a way into hospital management. I hadn’t even heard of such a subject back then. The course dealt with issues such as social psychology and anthropology, women and the welfare state, criminology, sociology and politics, which were all useful introductions to the health management system and the practice of management and leadership. We did business placements on organisational development too, so classroom time was punctuated with time in the field. The best thing about this was I was able to grow my mentorship circle and ended up applying for roles later with people I had done placements with.
What I do
My role involves a lot of working with spreadsheets and data to understand the performance of our service offer. I work with contractors and clinicians in the role of expert client. My role offers a lot of assurance to the Board and the Senior Leadership Team that quality standards are being achieved.
The best bits and challenges
The best part of the job is the team that I work with and how much they care about the service user experience. It’s never boring, there is always a report to write or a meeting to attend. I like that I can quantify improvements in areas such as cleaning and food standards. I love to demonstrate that we are aware of the risks we face and that we can prove that we are implementing actions to mitigate them. I love that I can see buildings rise from the ground to replace old stock as a result of the business cases I have written.
It’s about working to your values. The NHS is hard, but I know that the service I build is the service that my family relies on when they are ill. I am working to ensure that the service user and the staff are safe and comfortable in the buildings we provide.
Aspects of the role I didn’t expect
What surprised me was the amount technology that is available to help me do my job. I know there is so much more power on my work station than I know how to use fully at this moment, and I am always learning. 34 years into my career I thought I would know what I need to know – but I am in the classroom 3-4 times a year keeping up to date and I love learning.
Life outside work
I am not married, and I do not have children, so my life has been built around my career. I have worked abroad as well as in the UK and living in a country without an NHS certainly makes you value the ability to turn to the NHS for care without worrying about a bill.
I would say ask for work placements as soon as you can as it builds a network of mentors who can guide your career for years. It gives you practical experience too. Also volunteer for projects so you can expand your role and understand more about the whole Trust not just the department you work in. Qualifications are still important so be prepared to learn not just about your specialism e.g., plumbing but about management and leadership too.