“I always wanted to be a nurse from being very small and that never waned as I grew up. I wrote to my local hospital The George Eliot in Nuneaton when I was 10 to say I was interested in being a nurse!”

Joanne Hartley has been a nurse for 36 years. She trained in 1987 in Warwickshire and worked in several specialities before becoming a Ward Manager, Infection Prevention and Control Specialist Nurse and Practice Educator and Assistant Matron for District Nursing – she even went to LA! Now, she is the Communication Skills Facilitator at ELHT.

She said:

"Our role is a unique position at ELHT. We are a dedicated team that facilitate communication courses within the Department of Education, Research & Innovation (DERI). As a result of this ground-breaking support by the Trust we have several successful courses available to our colleagues.

Joanne HartleyWe have trained over 600 colleagues with the Sage & Thyme model for noticing low level distress and using listening skills to enable us to respond helpfully. We also offer breaking bad news, advance care planning (Mayfly) and advanced communication skills courses. They are all helping us to provide effective and compassionate care to patients, which can often be during difficult times for patients.

My passion is teaching, so this role is my ideal job. I know from feedback that we are making a difference, and this is translated into enhanced experiences by patients, relatives and colleagues in the workplace. Effective communication and keeping the patient at the centre of their journey as they access our services is our goal.

The biggest impact in my career has been COVID-19. The way the profession kept evolving with all the information that was being sent through, sometimes hourly in the beginning of the pandemic. And the way the District Nurses adapted and kept the service going throughout this challenging period was amazing.

I learn something new every day and that is the excitement about healthcare in modern times. The challenges exist and the NHS is constantly developing to meet the needs of the population which means it is always evolving.

I am really proud of my career choice, and the NHS is an amazing organisation to work for.

I have met so many lovely people in my career, and I have been privileged to be part of people’s lives when they have been at their most vulnerable and will continue to be their advocate when they need me."