@NHS from 18/03/19 to 22/03/19
Patient/Carer or NHS Staff: NHS Staff
Condition or job title: Deputy Director of Quality, NHS Kernow
Place of treatment/care or workplace: NHS Kernow
I’m Nikki Thomas, Deputy Director of Quality at NHS Kernow, and I qualified as a nurse 27 years ago.
My career in the NHS has been diverse, challenging and filled with so many positive memories. I have worked with and cared for so many inspiring, passionate and hardworking people. If you recognise yourself here, then thank you.
I started my NHS career in 1989 working as a health care assistant in a care of the elderly hospital in Kent. I loved this job; not only did I get the opportunity to care for some of the most interesting people ever, but I could begin another passion of mine, handbags.
My registered general nurse training followed in 1990 at Eastbourne Hospital, working part time in its social club. After three years hard work and a new blue buckled belt, I moved to Camberwell, south London to start my next adventure at Kings College Hospital, London. I chose haematology as a speciality, loving the ability to form closer relationships with people and their families. Working in sickle cell disease, thalassaemia, bone marrow transplantation, chemotherapy over 10 years in London, I took the post of matron and lead cancer nurse, then finally head of nursing before making the move to the south west.
Moving from south London was the first challenge, where to live? My husband had never been to Devon so a village shop and a pub was a necessity. My daughter at some point would need a school so we plumped for Dartmoor, Devon as it seemed to be in the middle, easy for A30 and A38. As the new director of nursing of the Peninsula Cancer Network I could work across many providers in health, social and the voluntary sector promoting the need to commission person-centred care and treatment. The network closed in the NHS reforms of 2012 and I moved to NHS England South West as a patient experience manager, working with people like The Patients Association, Patient Participation Groups and Healthwatch. I completed the NHS Leadership Nye Bevan programme in 2017 and moved to NHS Kernow as Head of Clinical Quality.