Jane Williams, Associate Director of Planned Care
For many clinicians, the calling to work in healthcare seems to come at an early age. For Jane Williams it was as young as four years old, inspired in part by her aunt, Helen Feeney, a Director of Nursing and Midwifery (pictured alongside Jane in her smart red dress and hat).
“I followed in a long tradition of nurses and midwives within in my family,” explains Jane. “Nursing is a profession that has given me educational, clinical, managerial, legal and strategic roles which still fills me with joy.
“I began my NHS career in 1986 and trained as a student nurse in Chester. I worked in renal medicine in Manchester as a sister on a haemodialysis unit, then I moved into district nursing following my degree and went to Bracknell managing community teams. I studied for a Master’s degree and a law diploma and worked in an acute hospital managing discharge, capacity and complex case review. I have been with Guildford and Waverley Clinical Commissioning Group for the past four years and am now the Associate Director of Planned Care across the three Surrey Heartlands CCGs.”
The founding principle of the NHS was to make healthcare available to all based on need rather than the ability to pay, from the cradle to the grave. Most frontline staff will have been exposed to matters of life and death at some point in their career and Jane is no exception. However, her experiences have straddled both her professional and personal life.
“I have seen the NHS and all emergency services working with commitment and professionalism each and every day, but the days that stand out are marked by small gestures. I was on call for the 7 July bombing in London and worked with the remarkable urgent response teams who did so much together, achieving multi-agency communication to help locate injured loved ones. On another level I have witnessed patients dying peacefully at home, surrounded by family, playing my part in ensuring that their last moments were as peaceful and pain free as possible.
“My biggest challenge was being on the other side, receiving care after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017. I had a mastectomy and four months of chemotherapy and that taught me more about the NHS and what services mean to patients than anything else.
“It also taught me that I love working; I found great enjoyment and support in working flexibly throughout my chemotherapy and could maintain my fitness and sense of normality. It was the small gestures that matter: the phone call from my Director at 10pm after I was diagnosed at 8pm, the texts from a colleague who never forgot a single chemo session, and the kindness of my team who celebrated with cake and fizz on the day I completed treatment. It also taught me that the patient is the most under-used resource in the NHS and should be included in every step of service transformation.”