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Career Spotlight: Alberto Jr Anajao as Surgical Centre Director

I am Alberto Jr Anajao. I am currently working as the Centre Director of OneWelbeck ENT Centre and OneWelbeck Skin Health and Allergy Centre which provide specialised ENT and Dermatology services. These include diagnostic and screening tests, treatment of disease and injury and same-day surgical procedures.

I arrived in the UK in March 2011. I started working in the NHS as a Theatre Practitioner for a Multi-specialty Trust in Norwich, and I mainly specialised in scrubbing and circulating for Orthopaedic and Spinal surgeries.

My Career Progression

After gaining experience as a Theatre Nurse, I became a Clinical Nurse Specialist and Theatre Coordinator for Spire Bushey Hospital, the flagship hospital for the Spire Healthcare Group. This position allowed me to specialise further in assisting complex surgical specialities whilst at the same time gaining management skills in coordinating and liaising the daily activities of a large and busy Theatre Department.

Whilst at Spire Bushey, I also became the Clinical Quality and Effectiveness Coordinator, where I was involved in clinical projects that drive clinical excellence not only in Theatres but also in the entire hospital. This role allowed me to gain experience in successfully meeting and exceeding CQC best practice guidelines and key lines of enquiry.

In pursuit of my first clinical management post, I looked for opportunities and got hired as a Theatre and Endoscopy Manager for The Fitzwilliam Hospital - a part of the Ramsay Healthcare Group in Peterborough.

Upon starting this job, I was told that a Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection for the entire hospital and a Joint Advisory Group (JAG) Reaccreditation for the Endoscopy Department was imminent. The task was a huge challenge as we needed to ensure that we met the standards set by these governing bodies to provide safe and quality services. To achieve this, I spearheaded the implementation of comprehensive clinical governance and effectiveness with my team. Following all those inspections, our hospital and department attained a “GOOD” rating for our CQC inspection and JAG Reaccreditation, which was a brilliant outcome for all the efforts made.

I had stayed briefly in this hospital as I needed to sort out some personal matters. After a short stint on this job, I decided to do full-time agency work as a Surgical First Assistant in the interim whilst waiting for a Theatre Manager vacancy in a private hospital in London. After five months of agency work, I secured a job as a Clinical Services Manager for Theatres, Endoscopy and High Dependency Unit for The Blackheath Hospital- part of BMI Healthcare.

This role allowed me to improve and strengthen my leadership and management skills in leading a larger team and managing a new department at the time - the High Dependency Unit (HDU). Due to the massive improvements in clinical and operational outputs within the departments that I have led, the hospital's Executive Director encouraged me to take a Leadership and Management Course accredited by the Chartered Management Institute. This course is typically given to selected Senior Management Team (SMT) members under BMI healthcare. Even though I wasn’t an SMT member of the hospital, my ED still approved and supported me to take this course.

After achieving financial success in the departments that I manage in BMI, The Blackheath Hospital, the BMI’s Regional Director for London and Southeast encouraged me to take responsibility and manage BMI’s Flagship Hospital in London - BMI The Clementine Churchill Hospital.

I worked as the Clinical Services Manager for the Theatres, Endoscopy and Minor Procedures Unit at this hospital. I led a large team of 64 permanent staff and 47 regular bank staff. It was great to work with a team dedicated to providing excellent patient care. Within this period, we attained a “GOOD” CQC Rating from a previous “Needs Improvement” rating and achieved our very first JAG Accreditation.

I gained a Chartered Manager Status following the completion of my Management Degree. It is the highest accolade a manager can receive as it acknowledges individuals for their exceptional leadership and commitment to continual professional development. Consequently, I decided to progress in my career and look for a job that would allow me to be part of the Hospital Senior Management Team.

I have searched for suitable opportunities with this goal in mind, which led me to be the Head of Nursing and Clinical Services (HoNCS) for three healthcare sites in Portsmouth and Southampton under Practice Plus Group. As the HoNCS, I was responsible for all clinical staff working in St. Mary’s Surgical Centre and Urgent Treatment, Havant Diagnostic Centre and Southampton Urgent Treatment Centre. I have led a large team of approximately eight clinical managers, 111 permanent clinical staff and 81 regular bank clinical staff.

We attained JAG reaccreditation in this hospital under my leadership with the help of my hard-working team. We also progressed with many advanced clinical projects that benefited our staff and the patients in our local community, especially when the COVID pandemic peaked.

My Current Role

I progressed further as the Centre Director for two separate healthcare organisations - the OneWelbeck ENT Centre and the OneWelbeck Skin Health and Allergy Centre. In this role, I am responsible for strategic management, which includes overall responsibility for both centres' clinical, operational, financial, and commercial management.

You may have noticed that I have moved to different areas after achieving substantial improvements in each role I have undertaken. Compared to sticking to one place, the advantage of this would be your marketability as an employee. The employers will see you as someone with invaluable skills and flexibility that they highly value.

Moving from one area to another allowed me to gain highly transferable skills, whether clinical, leadership, or managerial aptitudes. It gave me a better understanding of how things work, what can be improved and how to overcome the challenges we may encounter.

My Advice to Nurses

If you want to progress into a management role, employers usually look for individuals with various skill sets and experience within at least two clinical areas. My advice for the new nurses is never to be afraid to try something new. There is a vast opportunity for any nurse to explore various specialities and areas within the nursing profession. Don’t box yourself into one place until you’ve explored your interests.

Never fear to pursue your passion despite what other people may say about you and your abilities. As long as you are not stepping on others to get ahead, keep progressing and pushing forward with your own personal and professional development. Be brave enough to take calculated risks no matter how many times you stumble on your career path. And if you did, take a deep breath, stand up again, keep looking ahead and remind yourself of the possible and achievable success.

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