Dr. Imogen Staveley is a GP, Clinical Lead for Warwickshire North Clinical Commissioning Group and for the Healthy London Partnership at NHS England plus Chief Executive of the start-up company, PregnaPouch. Despite women making up 77% of the NHS workforce, it is still mainly men in key decision-making positions and on the boards of NHS trusts and bodies, but Imogen believes this is changing thanks to women championing each other inside the NHS.
“…The best career advice I received was to consider having both mentors and sponsors – mentors to give you advice and sponsors to promote you. Don’t be afraid to seek these people out…”
Combining making a difference to patients day-to-day with clinical leadership
I wanted to be a GP because I realised I would be able to have a portfolio career where I could combine clinical practice and making a difference to patients day-to-day with clinical leadership where I made a difference to a whole population.
My job varies all the time, which is part of the attraction. Yesterday, for example, I was on call at my practice seeing patients in clinic and in their homes and in the middle of the day I had a conference call with the team at the Healthy London Partnership. We were considering how we support GP providers to work at greater scale to provide more joined-up efficient timely care for patients.
Championing women and supporting each other is working
The NHS now has many women relatively junior in the NHS, but still has predominantly men at the top. This is changing and I think it isn’t down to one initiative. One of the most important is for senior women to champion and support other women.
The best career advice I received was to consider having both mentors and sponsors – mentors to give you advice and sponsors to promote you. Don’t be afraid to seek these people out. Typically, in my personal experience, male and female colleagues have been excellent at this.
My advice to women looking to move into a career in the NHS is to speak to as many people as they can in healthcare so that they get to know not only all their options, but also the true picture of each role.
How an MBA can boost your standing and help with your job
I’m studying for an MBA, having already gained a distinction, at Warwick Business School to improve my knowledge of strategy and finance and to build a network of like-minded contacts. I also wanted to stretch myself and to broaden my experience – studying cases outside of the NHS has given me an alternative perspective to take back to my workplace.
I think that the MBA has improved my skills and confidence in areas such as strategy and knowledge of how to create strategic alignment in organisations. The MBA has also provided me with an understanding of my strengths and this will help me shape a career that plays to these strengths.
I chose an Executive MBA part time, which means you are doing it alongside your work, making it really integrated. I can write an essay on something I’m working on right now. Not only do you learn so much, but you do better at work because of it, plus you can share that learning with colleagues at work, which helps them out as well and they respect you more for doing an MBA.
Running a start-up business alongside my medical career
I am also involved in setting up an app for pregnant women. It is called PregnaPouch and is an app to support pregnant women hold their medical records discretely, conveniently and safely during and beyond their pregnancy.
People can read more at PregnaPouch.com. We hope to launch on iOS in January 2018. The idea came after seeing multiple women over the years who do not have their notes with them when they need them most – I wanted to solve that problem for them.