In Conversation With...Katie Winstanley
This week we spoke to Katie Winstanley, one of six NHS graduate management trainees currently based within our Trust. Katie is working with our Women and Child Health division, and is also proud of her role as deputy chair of our LGBT+ staff network.
Lives: In Mile End with one of her best friends, and a nurse from another NHS trust
And: Katie wanted to grow up to be a ballerina, until her dad had a heart attack and the great care he received made her want to join the NHS.
Tell us more about your role as a graduate management trainee…
It’s a two-year course and I joined our Trust last September, straight after finishing university. The course is aimed at training and developing potential NHS leaders of the future (a bit cheesy I know!)
My role, which is based within our People and Organisational Development team, is as a business partner to the Women and Child Health division. Business partners work with staff to build strong relationships and provide support with things like culture change. It’s a real privilege to do this role.
Women and Child Health is a really positive division, with lots of passionate and talented people. I’ve worked on a culture change programme, looking at ways to improve patient and staff experience. I’m also getting involved with our clinical and corporate strategies, which are really big pieces of work.
When I first joined our Trust I worked with our Therapies team, and even had the opportunity to go with them to a recruitment fair in Ireland which was fantastic.
As a business partner you have your finger in a lot of pies and I spend a lot of time running around our hospitals, it’s tiring, but I love it!
What made you want to work in the NHS?
I was on holiday in the Lake District with my parents and my dad had a cardiac arrest after he’d been water skiing. The air ambulance had to be called and he had lots of treatment at different hospitals.
He had really good care and is the picture of health now. That’s what made me want to work for the NHS and apply for the graduate scheme. Since I didn’t have a scientific background, it seemed like the perfect way for me to give back to the NHS and support staff through working in HR.
There are lots of great role models in our Trust who have also been on the scheme, including Amelia Darling, who’s a senior business partner now, Victoria Whittaker, our Associate Director for People and Organisational Development, and David Amos, our interim Director of People and Organisational Development. They have all been incredibly supportive.
We hear you had your heart set on another career at one stage….
When I was younger I really wanted to be a ballerina. I had my first lesson at three and did lots of different styles of dance throughout my childhood at stage school. It really boosted my confidence and has definitely shaped who I am today.
I stopped it all when I was doing my A-levels so I could focus on my application to Oxford University. As I went to a state school where I grew up near Manchester, didn’t think I could get in. However, I had the opportunity to do an access programme when I was 16 and that dispelled a lot of myths. I realised it was possible, so I put everything into it and miraculously I got in.
My parents were really proud, neither of them when to university so they really encouraged me. I’ve always loved academia and reading.
I did my degree in theology and religion, which is a subject you do for the love of it rather than to secure a particular job.
I feel so privileged to have gone to Oxford and it was the best experience of my life, however, as I was from a state school background I felt like I had to work ten times harder than anyone else.
It’s a really intense environment so I made friendships for life.
What made you want to get involved in our LGBT+ network?
I’m gay myself and I was involved in LGBT+ issues at Oxford. It’s quite antiquated environment so we did lots of educating, changing policies and providing pastoral support. A lot of that translates to the NHS.
I helped work on our staff LGBT+ network relaunch events and organised speakers from the police, Galop (an anti-violence LGBT+ charity), and our chaplaincy. It was a great success and I was really proud to be involved.
This month is UK LGBT+ History Month so I’ve been doing lots on social media – I love Twitter and I manage our LGBT+ network account as part of my role. I think it’s a great resource.
I’ve always known I was gay and came out when I was 16. My family were really supportive; however, as I’m from a Christian background, there have been challenges. While I have encountered negative attitudes within the church, I’ve also had lots of support.
What do you like getting up to when you’re not at work?
I have lots of friends in London, many from back home who have moved here too so I love to meet up and socialise. Our group of NHS graduate trainees also socialise outside of work.
One of them, Eliza Parr, is one of my best friends from sixth form. We both ended up on the graduate schemes, and then at the same Trust, by chance.
I still study lots too. As part of the scheme we need to complete a postgraduate diploma and postgraduate certificate in healthcare leadership and HR management.
I also tutor other students. I started when I was still at university, helping English and theology students. I also help students as part of the admission process to Oxford and Cambridge. I recently helped a boy from a similar background to me and I was so happy when he got in.