Staff Stories

Celebrating staff stories at #Teamgesh

We’re celebrating our staff in a series of stories from across gesh – our hospital Group.

We’ll introduce you to a different star of the show each week, hearing about the difference they make to our patients and communities, and how they are unique.

This week we hear from Nana Jenkins, Security Operations Manager at ESTH.

“I came to the UK from Ghana in 2018 and started working as a security guard at Epsom and St Helier in 2019. I worked hard, became a security supervisor and now I’m Operations Manager. We are a diverse workforce that reflects our communities.

“Working in hospital security, you never know what each day will bring. Often, we are not needed but by being there, we quietly offer reassurance. As a team, we strive to maintain a calm working atmosphere for staff and therefore benefit patient wellbeing. 

“I enjoy helping patients with mental health needs. I make sure I build a rapport with them by taking the time to listen, so they understand I’m here to help. The training I’ve received as a mental health first aider is invaluable in these situations.

“I love to read – Paul Grzegorzek, a security team colleague at ESTH who write books in his spare time, is my favourite author! During my days off, I head into nature to pursue one of my passions – photography. I also enjoy painting and spending quality time with my loved ones.”


Meet Maria Fernandez, Lead Nurse for Renal Transplant, at St George’s.

“Matrons and sisters from St George’s came to the Philippines in 2000 to talk to nurses interested in working for the NHS. I was interviewed, and soon after came to London to be a dialysis nurse.

“My mum was worried when I left as it was my first time away from home. I had to learn how to cook, do laundry – all those things – but said I would try it for two years and could go home if I wasn’t happy. I’ve been working at St George’s ever since – 24 years, and I have loved every day.

“I always wanted to work in the renal department. I’ve gone from working as a Adaption Nurse on Buckland ward all the way to being the Lead Nurse for renal transplant.

“I’ve been supported to progress in my career and work on projects that have improved patient care. Making sure patients get the best treatment is important to me – like developing an electronic referral system for transplants that may be adopted nationally.

“Some days, it’s hard to believe that it’s ‘Rhia from the Philippines’ who has done all this. But St George’s gave me the confidence. Winning this year’s Renal Nurse of the Year award was not just about me, it’s for everyone in the renal team. We are a family always striving to deliver outstanding care.”

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Lets meet Kristina Middleton, Health and Wellbeing Lead at St George’s.

“Our staff work incredibly hard delivering care for our patients and as a Health and Wellbeing Lead, I help to make sure our staff are cared for too. Colleagues can work long shifts in challenging circumstances and need to know someone is there to support them.

“Throughout the cost of living crisis, we were able to offer staff free food onsite and signpost them to local charities to help them get long-term support.

“But support can also be patients appreciating the difference staff make to their experience in hospital. Last year, we introduced Acts of Kindness awards based on patient and staff feedback that recognises the lasting impression positive staff action has in delivering care and creating a supportive working environment.

“Those receiving an award felt seen and appreciated, encouraging them to stay working for the Group. We will never be able to capture all of the kind acts taking place in our hospitals, but I am really glad we were able to spotlight some and reward people and teams praised by our patients.

“Some may say it’s an unusual hobby – but I’m doing a Ph.D. with Erasmus University Rotterdam on weekends, researching how people use available flexible working arrangements and the impact it has on individuals and organisations.”

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Lets meet Dionne Daniel, Director of Nursing – Fundamentals of Care at ESTH.

“It’s been quite the journey to get to where I am now. Growing up in Trinidad, I wanted to be a nun. It wasn’t right for me though so I trained to be a nurse. A friend wanted to come to England – not me – but I said I’d come too. Then my friend stayed in Trinidad.

“I remember arriving in England so clearly. It was 27 November 1998, and it was grey and cold – not like Trinidad at all. I was only going to stay for a year and then move on to Australia or America. However, I stayed because I loved it here.

“Being Director of Nursing for Fundamentals of Care covers a lot of ground. Every day, I get to work with amazing colleagues to make sure patient safety is a priority, and meet staff in their own environment during walkabouts – there is so much to see, I could happily be there all day.

“I’m an Ambassador for the Cavell Trust, a charity that helps nurses, and is very close to my heart. I’ve been raising funds for them since 2017, including only hopping, skipping, and jumping for the whole of August.

“My faith and helping people are very important to me – even more important than Arsenal. In February 2010, I became one of the first street pastors in Eastbourne, and the first team outside of London, to care for, listen to and help people who are out on the streets at night.”

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Let’s meet Mary Willocks, Maternity Inpatient Matron at Epsom Hospital.

“Being at the birth of a much longed-for baby is always amazing and a privilege.”

“I never want to lose my clinical skills and feel very lucky to be able to deliver care to our women and birthing people while managing my amazing team.

“I’ve been a midwife for 27 years and there have been a lot of memorable moments. Every delivery is special but being at the birth of a much longed-for baby is always an amazing moment and I feel very privileged to be a part of that.

 “I’ve taken part in quite a few endurance walks, and in 2018 I walked around the Isle of Wight non-stop, a total of 106km, which took 38 hours. I walked with a group of midwives and together we raised £7500 for the Triage Unit at St Helier.”

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 Let’s meet Deborah Gouveia, Senior Quality Improvement Advisor and QI Programme Lead at ESTH.

“Letting people know how valued they are is so important. It’s something I’ve always done.”

“My grandfather was a pharmacist in Guyana, South America. Everyone called him ‘the medicine man’. I thought that sounded really exciting, so at 15 I did work experience on the chemist counter at Boots and ended up a qualified pharmacist – my first NHS role.

“Now I help improve the care we give to patients, and I love it. I’m proud to lead our Improvement Practitioner Programme, working with our fantastic leaders. I see myself as a super connector – bringing people together to share skills and knowledge and make our care better.

“Letting people know how valued they are is so important, and it can make them want to improve. It’s something I’ve always done.

“My colleagues know about my love for quality improvement, but not that I absolutely love Guns N’ Roses and Spurs. It was a dream come true when GNR was the first band to play at Spurs’ home ground White Hart Lane. I was there loving the sun and the sounds.”

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Let’s meet Joana Lopes Gomes, Adult Safeguarding Clinical Nurse Specialist, who works at St George’s.

“Being a nurse requires clinical expertise, but also the warmth and empathy of a fellow human being.”

In adult safeguarding, our purpose is protecting and supporting those who are unable to do so themselves. We sometimes encounter difficult and distressing situations, but I’m thankful for every single person that has been referred to us. Lots of teams come together to make these patients’ lives more dignified.

Being a nurse requires clinical expertise, but also the warmth and empathy of a fellow human being – with all the emotions that accompany it. When I was a ward nurse, a patient with cancer receiving end of life care started telling me her deepest thoughts. It was a true rewind through the years, from someone who was trying to wrap up a whole lifetime of memories – from proudest moments to regrets. I could not hold my tears back as I listened to her, and we ended up crying together. Before I left the room, the lady asked me for a hug. This happened quite a few years ago – but it still touches me deeply.

It may surprise people to know that I didn’t have experience in adults safeguarding before I became a clinical nurse specialist. There are no limits to what nurses can achieve in the NHS. Skills can be learned, and there are always amazing opportunities out there.

If you would like to join our team please visit: jobs.stgeorges.nhs.uk