Juliette Greenwood: the joy of nursing

Chief Nurse at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), Juliette Greenwood, tells us why this is her dream role. 

“Being Chief Nurse at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) is a utopia role for me,” says Juliette. “Professionally, it doesn’t get any better in children’s nursing and healthcare."

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Juliette became Chief Nurse in 2015, but she was no stranger to the hospital, having held a number of roles here previously. Firstly as a student nurse then five years as the Assistant Chief Nurse and then Deputy Chief Nurse. The title she held when she left in 2004. 

Despite her years away from GOSH, she feels this is where she belongs: “While I’ve worked at other hospitals that deal with adult healthcare in addition to paediatric, I’m a children’s nurse at heart and always will be.”

Juliette jumped at the chance of going back to GOSH. She says: “The Chief Nurse role was an opportunity to return to a hospital that’s world-renowned for its clinical care, innovation, research, education and training.”

Worth the commute

She was so keen to return that she didn't let the logistics stand in her way. “I commute to London from Yorkshire at the moment. I come down on Monday morning, stay in hospital accommodation and go home on Friday teatime. I pick my daughter up from boarding school and we have the weekend together,” she says.

As Chief Nurse she has a huge number of responsibilities: “I am responsible for ensuring the delivery of the standards of nursing care and patient care. I’m also accountable for a raft of other areas, such as patient experience.”

Despite spending a lot of time in meetings, she makes sure she still has time to get out and about on the wards. Juliette says: “I think, in this day and age, contact is key – especially for us. We work in a hospital and deliver healthcare, our job is people. We need to be out and about talking to them. We must make sure our staff are delivering great healthcare.”

Juliette has an amazing variety of conversations with patients and families. “Areas of discussion could range from what they think of the quality of food or whether they have enough pillows, to the amount and quality of information they’ve received or the length of time they’ve had to wait,” she explains.

The three-year plan

Another important part of Juliette's job is planning for GOSH's future. “We have to deliver an increasing amount of healthcare that is increasingly complex, within an NHS that has financial restrictions. We don't just have to deliver the best clinical care, but be the best and most efficient organisation,” she says.

GOSH is continually expanding, and Juliette has to make sure it is on target with its three-year plan. “One of the key elements we’re continually working on is the rebuilding and refurbishment of wards and medical facilities.

“Later this year, we’ll start admitting patients to the newest part of the building – the Premier Inn Clinical Building – which will complete the Mittal Children’s Medical Centre. We also have another big project going on – the Zayed Centre for Research into Rare Disease in Children, which is due to open in 2018,” she says.

The best bits

For Juliette, the most satisfying aspect of being Chief Nurse is knowing that she has helped someone: “That could be a member of staff who is unable to identify something and you help them to see it. Or it could be when I’ve been able to work with a family to resolve concerns. The most enjoyable part of the job is the contact with people – you’re not doing this for yourself, but for everyone else.”

As for personal highlights, Juliette says that she has had many, but that one in particular stands out: “We’ve recently launched a pilot scheme called Project Search, where we have young people with learning disabilities doing work experience at the hospital.

"To see the absolute joy on the face of those individuals taking part is incredibly rewarding.”