Marie Smith

Deputy Matron, Rampton Hospital, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Hello, my name is Marie and I have been a Registered Learning Disability Nurse for 25 years. The majority of my career has been working in forensic services, high secure care. During my time within this setting I have worked across various care stream, learning disability, personality disorder, mental health and women’s.

At present, I work as a deputy matron within the National High Secure Learning Disability Service. I am extremely passionate about working with individuals who have a learning disability – always have been and as my career has progressed over the years this passion to delivery high quality care has not waned.

I oversee four wards within the National High Secure Learning Disability Service which consist of the following:

  • Aintree Ward focuses on patients who have high dependent needs and a diagnosis of autism
  • Cheltenham Ward is the admission and assessment ward for the service, which also has beds to cater for patients who require intensive care, providing high levels of support for patients who are critically unwell in terms of their mental wellbeing
  • Kempton Ward has a focus on treatment and continuing care
  • Newmarket Ward functions as a therapeutic community

We aim to provide a quality and innovative clinical service to patients with complex presentations that include a learning disability, autism, personality disorder and/ or a mental health diagnosis with a primary of learning disability. The main aims of the service are to offer a care pathway to reduce patient risk, in a least restrictive approach and for patients to have an enhanced quality of life, basing our philosophy of care around the principles of Positive Behavioural Support.

My role as a deputy matron is to provide operational and clinical support to the wards and the ward mangers within the service, ensuring that not only patients are supported and cared for but staff are too, making them feel valued and supported to be the best that they can be within their roles.

For me I feel it is important to create a positive culture within the workplace, and I always strive to do this, but I also recognise that there is always room for improvement. Over the last year I have started to think differently about my leadership style and about what sort of leader I want to be, and I feel this would be the perfect platform for me to explore this.

I previously considered applying for the Inspire Improvement Fellowship a couple of years ago, but due to circumstances the timing was not right. However, I have supported colleagues within my service, to be part of Creating Caring Cultures Fellowship for aspiring leaders and early career frontline Registered Learning Disability Nurses (which is also run by FoNs) and seeing how they have developed and become invigorated by the programme has inspired and motivated me to apply this year. I want to be able to inspire and develop others, and I really do believe that being a Fellow will further develop my skills to do so.

By becoming an Inspire Improvement Fellow I want to further develop my own leadership style, to be more inclusive of others, developing a culture of openness and transparency. I want to develop my creative skills and look at how culture can affect a service and how to promote positive culture within the service I work in, disseminating what I learn with the hope of inspiring others.

I am really excited at widening my network, especially in terms of support, learning from others and getting to know individuals who work in a completely different area of nursing to me.

I really can’t wait to start this journey and seeing what happens over the next year ….

For more information contact [email protected]