Whilst caring is the core of what we do as nurses, career advancement is not impossible. Hard work and courage to face any challenge can go a long way when it comes to progression. Nurse Matron Jaypee Poblacion shares with us her journey as a nurse in the United Kingdom; from her humble beginning as a Junior Staff Nurse to a Matron Lead Nurse in Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust leading a busy clinical department.
I qualified as a nurse in the Philippines in 1994. After gaining some experience, I decided to work in a military hospital in Saudi Arabia from 1998-2003. A year later, I grabbed the opportunity to work in the United Kingdom as an Elderly Junior Staff Nurse. I was promoted from “D” grade staff nurse to an “E” Grade the following year. Being a staff nurse allowed me to gain so much technical and soft skills to provide excellent and safe care to patients. With the experience I gained along the way, I was then encouraged to apply and was fortunate to be appointed as band 6 in 2009 and fulfilled this role until 2013. Leading a busy ward wasn’t easy but the experience I acquired has given me the foundation to my succeeding roles in my career path.
Having spent almost 10 years in the acute elderly setting, I took the plunge to apply for a managerial role after an opportunity for a Band 7 post arose. I applied for the post and I was offered to lead a 30 bedded unit Renal/Gastro ward. The role was a significant jump as I needed to undertake advanced leadership tasks. As a ward manager, I have to manage staff and resources to provide effective service to all our patients as well as motivate my team and lead by example.
During the course of my role as a band 7 sister I was appointed to act as Matron for Cardiology, Respiratory & Infectious Diseases for 12 months. This experience provided me with enhanced knowledge and skills that definitely prepared me to climb higher in the nursing career ladder. I was then given the challenge to open a new ward solely for Gastro patients and it was a success. I felt a deep sense of pride and I know that my passion with patient care was a huge factor that drove me to accomplishing my goals.
In 2017, I applied and was fortunate to be appointed as a Band 8a Matron/Lead Nurse for Endoscopy, and Digestive Diseases which includes Hepatitis service, Nutrition, IBD service, Bowel Cancer Screening Program, Hepatitis Research. Due to the restructuring initiative within my Trust, more areas have been added under my remit. These are Acute & General surgery, in-patient Gastro, General medicine downstream on top of all my other areas. It was indeed a very challenging task requiring a great deal of organisational, critical and problem solving skills. However, I have received enormous support and my eagerness to provide excellent service to our patients and empowering the staff kept me going each day.
I found that moving from different areas had provided me perspective which shaped my leadership skills today. It gave me the flexibility, ability to adapt, opportunity to learn different skills and equally sharing transferable skills to my new area. With my role as a Matron, I was able to not only manage a department but also be a proactive leader for my team. I have also been involved in international recruitment in the Philippines. I went for a week in 2015 with three other matrons to fulfil the job interviews and have been successful in finding the right candidates. Those Filipino nurses whom we have recruited are now very much settled in our Trust and some of them have now obtained permanent residency.
In my journey as a UK nurse, I am most grateful to be presented with opportunities that helped me grow and develop my career.I can say that my journey was not all easy but it was very meaningful. It took me hard work and courage. For my fellow nurses who are aspiring too, do not give up! Always have the inner passion to care. humility, resilience and flexibility which are essential qualities to progress. Opportunities are available for those who seek and work hard for it.