We spoke to Jay Patel, Director of Agency Management at NHS Professionals to discuss leadership, managing remote teams and balancing work and life.
Jay’s story is part of a series of articles highlighting the careers of female leaders within the NHS. We’re bringing together the stories of these courageous leaders to prove that the route to leadership is never a straight line.
Jay works for NHS Professionals, an NHS staff bank that provides flexible workers to the NHS. Currently, the Service Director for Agency Management Jay has 20 years worth of experience in Account Management.
After initially working in recruitment, Jay fell into healthcare recruitment.
“And then I moved to NHS Professionals nearly 20 years ago, and to be honest, I’ve never looked back. Every day has brought something different, its been a great journey”
Jay, who has always juggled her family and work responsibilities, draws a lot of strength from the support network around her who have continued to enable her career despite family and cultural traditions.
“20 years ago, when I was starting my career, It wasn’t a tradition that women would work in such demanding and high profile roles. The people around me did struggle with the idea that I was working long, non-standard hours whilst regularly being away from home. It was hard to find the balance but it was something we worked through, taking each day as it comes.”
Working in a job that never conformed to standard working hours, Jay has carved out a position of leadership for herself and continues to lead with passion at the heart of her methodology.
“If you don’t actually believe in what you do, then I think, whichever role you’re in, it doesn’t feel that important however If you believe in the purpose and know the impact that you are going to make, the passion will lead you there every time.”
This passion has put Jay in a good position to tackle the challenges brought about by COVID-19. A fully remote role, Jay has 20 years of experience managing a remote team. For those now facing the prospect of managing a team without seeing them in person, we asked Jay what skills she believes are the most important to managing remote teams.
“You need a great positive attitude and to be really proactive in speaking to people and maintaining relationships at all levels. With that, you need to be able to juggle, prioritise, and reprioritize tasks accordingly.”
More specifically to the NHS and her journey, Jay believes a large helping of versatility and tenacity is important. When it’s up to her to demonstrate a value-based service where patient care is at the heart of everything,
“It’s not for everybody, you have to have excellent communication skills, and you’ve got to build trust, it’s all about people .”
For those looking to take up a leadership position in the NHS, Jay recommends focusing on staying grounded and authentic whilst finding the learnings in everyday life.
“Value your experiences and learn from everybody around you, including from the mistakes that you make, because you’ll make many, but remember you’ve got this.”
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