International Women's Day - Lisa Jackson, Eastern Community Outpatients Operations Manager

11 Mar 2021

As Monday was International Women’s Day we are celebrating this week the incredible women that work across the trust. The RD&E NHS Foundation Trust currently provides health and care services to a community of more than 450,000 people. With many sites across Exeter and East Devon, planning what happens where and when is extremely complicated. One of those responsible for this game of three dimensional chess is Lisa Jackson, Eastern Community Outpatients Operations Manager.

What does your role involve?

My role ensures that we effectively use our Community Hospital space to its full advantage. I have an overview of the Community outpatient clinics within our buildings and ensure that our patients benefit from the provision of outpatient clinics closer to home. Which in turn can reduce our waiting list times for our patients.

Have you found the NHS a good place for a woman to find a career?

The RD&E is an amazing place to work, and I am extremely proud to be a very small part of this organisation. The NHS as a whole is a great place to work as a woman because we do exhibit our values of equality and inclusion. The support is there to help women find the work life balance that they need. It can be a challenging place too so resilience is required and the desire to make a difference in your role. If you’ve got passion and enthusiasm, you will achieve.

How has your experience of working as a woman in the NHS changed over time?

I’ve worked in the NHS for over 20 years and I think I’ve been very privileged with the roles and opportunities I’ve had. I’ve never experienced any unfairness and I think over the last 10 –15 years the Trust has developed a very pro-active and positive culture.

Are there any women who have inspired you?

Within the Trust, Zoe Harris and Adele Jones have been inspirational. They are exceptionally professional but yet very open, approachable and fair. In terms of gender equality one person who inspired me was a head teacher of a local Community College. This is some years ago now but he took the stance that women were equal with men at his college. I met him whilst on a leadership course and seeing his belief in equality was quite inspirational for me. I think his example shows how equality involves both men and women, it is about becoming allies and lifting each other up.

What is the biggest workplace challenge you’ve faced as a woman?

When I was younger, just starting my working life really, I felt that it was expected that when I had my three children that I should pause my career. I was out of the workplace for five years and nowadays there would be more of a balanced discussion between both parents. Thirty years ago, it was assumed that as a woman I would stay at home and look after the children until they reached school age. In one way, this delayed the start of my career within the NHS, though this precious time was invaluable.

What advice do you have to younger women looking to further their careers?

My eldest daughter asked for some advice a few years ago, she asked me what she could do to achieve the role that she wanted. I advised her to follow her dream, to exhibit passion and enthusiasm, and to fundamentally have a great interest in what she was doing. I feel that a person needs to enter an interview knowing they are capable and have the necessary skills. I think women need to be confident in the way that they present themselves and believe in what they do and the impact it’s going to have within their field.

It’s about instilling confidence in women of any age to enable them to achieve their ultimate aspirations and goals.

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