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Careers Champion case study

Esther Dorken, Midwifery and Women’s Health Consultant Midwife,

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Kings Lynn NHS Foundation Trust

Tell us a bit about your role and how long you’ve worked for the NHS?
I have been working in the NHS since 1989 when I trained to be a Registered Nurse. It was all I wanted to do from a very young age. I worked as a nurse within surgery and specialised in Urology. After I had my daughter, I felt drawn to midwifery, this was never what I planned on doing as childbirth frightened me.

I became a qualified midwife in 2000 after having my second child. My first ever experience as a midwife was of a homebirth and I became hooked. I feel so privileged to have been the support to so many women having their children.

I am now a Consultant Midwife, which is such a great role for not only me but for midwives to be able to aspire to. This role gives me the opportunity to be involved clinically, operationally and strategically to influence the service we provide to women and their families. I could not have done this without the NHS giving me the opportunities to achieve this.

Tell us a bit about the Careers Champions role?

This role will help me to help others in their career decisions. I have had wonderful support and guidance throughout my time in the NHS. The conversations I have had with staff members often include the following; ‘What if I could be this role?’ or ‘What if I could do that role?’ ‘How will that
ever happen?’ I want to be able to help them as I have been helped.

Esther Dorken, Midwifery and Women’s Health Consultant Midwife,

Careers Champions – Helping You To Map Out Your Future Career Pathway

How do you think your experience with NHS will support fellow peers?
I have a wealth of experience throughout my career and have experienced what progression can look like. I am part of the workforce training group here at QEH and this will enable me to understand different roles and the requirements for each in an academic sense. I have had experience of being coached for different roles which has proved invaluable in my progression.

What excites you about being a Careers Champion?
Staff need to be able to get support in their career decisions and to guide them on where they could progress; it will enable me to open up conversations that may help a staff member think about the possibilities they haven’t had the time to think about.

Why do you think now is the time for Careers Champions?
I feel this is long overdue. Staff don’t know what roles are out there and they need to feel energised following a couple of difficult years (or more). The NHS needs to invest in their workforce to give them opportunities to create an excellent service that gives credence to their ideas.

What is the long term importance of Careers Champions for the future workforce?
Midwifery in particular is feeling a huge strain, not only with less members being trained but also
those staff members leaving the profession. Having Career Champions will enable staff to talk through options and hopefully enable more to stay within the NHS, in roles that will give them career confidence and progression of they wish.

What would be your advice to those people a bit apprehensive seeing a Careers Champion?
Don’t be apprehensive – it could be the doorway to progression or a more fulfilling future.