“It’s vital for staff to have that representation” – Interview with Marlene Johnson, Staff Governor
We have been meeting with our governors to learn more about the important role they play at the Trust.
Marlene Johnson has been one of our staff governors since 2019, representing nursing and midwifery staff, and is Head of Nursing for Renal, Haematology, Oncology and Palliative Care at the Trust.
We spoke to Marlene to find out more about her work as a staff governor and why she thinks it’s important for our nurses to have a voice on the Council of Governors.
Why did you want to become a staff governor?
“I think I was in a senior position as a nurse and I felt I had the knowledge and the experience to speak on behalf of my nursing and midwifery colleagues. I’m not afraid to speak up and say what nurses are experiencing on the shop floor, and as a staff governor, I’m keen to support all our nursing workforce when I can.
“I also feel it’s important to be able to give the right information at governor meetings, and being a nurse means I can provide that insight.”
What kind of things do staff come to you with?
“One of our teams came to me as they felt a bit underrepresented, that the Trust wasn’t really aware of their work, and also that they didn’t have a permanent space where they could work from at the hospital.
“I spoke to our communications team about profiling them, and was able to get them in to present to a meeting of senior staff about their work. I also used my knowledge of Trust premises, and managed to find them a new work space – being a governor meant I could support them.”
What do you enjoy about being a governor?
“I enjoy our meetings with the other governors. It’s a varied mix of people and I wouldn’t normally have that interaction with people from other organisations or local members of the public who support our hospital.
“They all have a vested interest in our hospital and it’s interesting to hear the questions they ask – it’s nice to be able to listen to them and to speak for nurses whenever I can.”
How has it been being a governor and a nurse during the Covid-19 pandemic?
“Due to work pressures as a result of the pandemic, I’ve not been able to interact with my fellow governors as much as usual, but whenever I have, my presence has been appreciated, even if I attend a meeting for 15 minutes to say hello and give an update.
“I think being able to articulate what our nurses are experiencing, and how our services have been affected, has also been appreciated by the governors.”
Finally, why do you think the role of staff governor is important?
“Not every member of staff at the Trust will be aware of what we do, but as a nurse and a governor, you can see issues from both sides.
“When I was interviewed by the Care Quality Commission during our inspection, you realise that being a governor means you can speak confidently about things that are happening across the Trust. I’d encourage all my colleagues to consider it as it’s vital for the Trust’s staff to have that representation on the governing body.”