A Clinical Engineer at the Royal United Hospital in Bath, Nana Odom, has been awarded a prestigious 12-month NHS fellowship for female healthcare scientists.
Ms Odom is one of four candidates chosen for the 2018 Chief Scientific Officer’s (CSO) WISE Fellowship programme for NHS England.
It offers a unique opportunity within the NHS and beyond for mid-career female healthcare scientists to gain invaluable leadership experience.
Nana, who has worked at the RUH since 2017 said: “My 10-year career journey has been through relentless determination, perseverance and continuous learning while dealing with internal barriers as a mum, a wife and a female in male- dominated teams.
“I am encouraged by women in engineering who have risen through the ranks, especially those who have combined career with motherhood.
“I want to inspire generations, empower other women and promote and support diversity in NHS leadership through telling my story.
“I am looking to build a brand as a female clinical engineer in the NHS. I also want to use this opportunity to contribute to raising the profile of healthcare scientists who make up five per cent of the NHS workforce.
“Our involvement has significant impact on all patient pathways through the services we provide.”
There are around 300 healthcare scientists working at the RUH. They use their knowledge in science and technical skills to advance care either by working directly with patients, or in supporting roles or involvement in research and innovation.
As a clinical engineer, Nana leads on or coordinates medical equipment procurement projects, organising stakeholder meetings, demonstration days, clinical evaluations and training.
As part of the process, she ensures any device selected is safe and effective and alerts manufacturers of any poor designs. She is also involved with a number of innovation projects.
She added: “Working as a clinical engineer is very diverse. I get the opportunity to meet professionals from different disciplines as I am required to work together with them.
“It is fulfilling to know that what I do contributes to ensuring that equipment is safe before being used on the ward.’’
Over the next 12 months, Nana will receive bespoke leadership development training and be mentored by senior leaders in healthcare, industry and academia, as well as speaking and ambassadorial opportunities through the CSO and WISE networks.
She will also have the opportunity to join senior leaders at NHS England healthcare science advisory meetings.
Trust Medical Director Dr Bernie Marden said: “This is a truly impressive achievement that will give Nana an opportunity to grow and develop as a leader in an incredibly important area of healthcare.
“This will not only benefit Nana personally but will be great for the RUH and for the patients we care for.”
Professor Sue Hill OBE, Chief Scientific Officer for England, said: “Science and innovation play a crucial role in patient-centred service transformation and are vital to delivering new frontiers in areas such as genomic medicine and tackling antimicrobial resistance.
“Ensuring our healthcare system operates at the limits of science, this Fellowship programme recognises the significant contribution women make to technology and engineering, providing a global contribution to science in health and inspiring the next generation of scientists.”