Choosing to nurse
"I grew up abroad. My dad was in the armed forces for 26 years, so I was born in Germany and brought up in Cyprus. I feel very privileged to have had that experience. Until the age of 13 I had never lived in the UK. I first thought about nursing when my brother was 11. We had to go to hospital with him when he had a benign testicular tumour. He's completely fine now but being in a hospital gave me the thought of going into nursing.
"In 2006 we moved to Milton Keynes. My dad had left the forces and got a job in London and this was the nearest place he could commute form. I went to the University of Luton to do nurse training and the got a job at Milton Keynes Hospital. I've been here 13 years, with the last 8 in occupational health.
"I'd wanted a change for a while. My son was two and I wanted something that could work around him. The role has just developed over the years and workplace wellbeing has changed hugely in that time. The emphasis on looing after yourself in the workplace is so important for all of us.
"There are ten of us here in occupational health and although the other team members don't deal with my work, just having them around to bounce ideas off is great. I got talking to our medical secretary recently about initiatives, and because she goes for a walk every day, she has now started a walking group, which goes out every week over lunchtime.
"I also work closely with or head of department who is very supportive of everything we're doing. Our chief executive Joe Harrison is also a real advocate. He is often seen walking around, talking to staff. He runs an 'Ask Joe' session on our internet, where staff can ask him questions and he always replies. He's brought some big improvements to the Trust since he joined a few years ago.
"We've had positive feedback on our work. Every year staff are given a survey to complete and last year there was a 12% increase in staff agreeing that the Trust is doing enough on health and wellbeing.
"we have an annual staff awards and a year ago I won one. I wasn't expecting to be nominated but I was. The penny began to drop when our director, who was about to announce the award on stage, kept talking about me. I thought 'please talk about the next person' but when she said how proud she was of me, I realised it might actually be me. It was so nice and it makes all the hard work worthwhile.
"My mentor is definitely my gramps. He was the most amazing man I ever met and will ever meet. His work ethic was just amazing, as well as the values he stood for. I never heard him swear or raise his voice. He's really influenced me to always do my best. Everything I do, I think 'would gramps be proud of me?'
Living for today
"I don't have any regrets. I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and I am where I am for a good reason. I may need to tell myself to enjoy life a bit more. I'm very much a workaholic and in the evenings, I'll log on and do work, and I check my emails at weekends. However, my son Alfie is nearly 10 and my daughter Alice is 5, so I know spending time with them is important.
"Nothing is ever serious, and work will still be there tomorrow. It's important to just enjoy life as nobody knows what's going to happen. The saddest things do happen unexpectedly, and they can happen to any one of us. My role has made me more aware of living for today. Seeing some of the people who have come through the door and listening to people tell their stories in mental health training has made me realise you have to live for today and be grateful for what you have"