As part of our celebration of International Women’s Day 2020, we asked women who worked across the Trust to share their stories.

Posted on March 5, 2020 by AireAdmin

Steph Burgess

I’m a Speech and Language Therapist specialising in stammering. Unusually in therapies, I work across the age range with both children and adults. I came relatively late to Speech and Language Therapy, completing my training in my late thirties after a previous career working in international logistics. The culture change from industry to NHS was quite a shock, but I feel I have been able to bring many valuable insights to my role from my experience of having worked outside of the NHS.

I only took on the stammering specialism because our previous specialist retired and nobody else really wanted to take it on. Prior to that I didn’t have a great interest in the area, but now I absolutely love it. I am privileged to be part of an incredible community of people who stammer and specialist therapists, and I am passionate about getting the word out about stammering and debunking the many myths surrounding it.  When I see my clients having the confidence to speak out in the media and call out unacceptable behaviour, such as laughing at stammering, it makes me feel incredibly proud.

Over the last few years I have had the amazing experience of setting up a brand new national telemedicine service, the only one of its kind. This has taken me all over the country presenting and to various awards ceremonies. More importantly, it has enabled me to connect with some lovely people from all over the Trust with whom I would not otherwise have come into contact. Something else which enabled me to do that was setting up the Airedale choir, which I’m very proud of. Singing with colleagues at last summer’s butterfly release for bereaved families is one of the most moving things I’ve ever been privileged to take part in.

I am proud to work for Airedale, where I have the most amazing, supportive colleagues, and passionate about the values of the NHS. I love the unique culture within the NHS created by hundreds of thousands of people working for a common goal – to help others. I strongly feel that Aneurin Bevan’s statement is as valid today as ever: “No society can legitimately call itself civilised if a sick person is denied medical aid because of lack of means”.  Anyone who follows me on Twitter will know that I am not averse to expressing strong political views, especially when I perceive this principle of the NHS to be threatened!

Outside of work, I enjoy taking part in musical theatre productions and walking in our beautiful local countryside, when the weather allows.

My message to women considering a career in the NHS is: believe in yourself. I hear far too many talented female colleagues saying they suffer from imposter syndrome. You ARE good enough!