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

Lorna Smithson

What is your job?

Head of Workforce Resource Service

How did you get to where you are today? What made you decide to do what you do?

My mum worked at Airedale many years ago so as a child I spent a lot of time in the hospital either after school, on a weekend or in the holidays.  Mum would always find me little jobs to do to keep me out of trouble either photocopying or stapling together junior doctor induction packs, stuffing envelopes etc.  When I was in year 10 at secondary school I came on a work experience placement for 2 weeks.  I did a week in the Child Development Centre and a week in Personnel.

I joined Airedale officially in 1999 at age 17 as a Vocational Trainee (Apprentice) earning £37.50 a week.  I then applied for a 2 year internship in Personnel and was employed within 3 months and transferred onto an annual salary.  My first employed role was a Receptionist and I’ve worked my way up from there.  I’ve worked here for 21 years.

I’ve known since I was about 11 years old that I wanted to work at Airedale so for me I selected the employer first which might sound odd, however I was so used to the hospital and the friendly staff that it felt like home to me.

I didn’t know what I wanted to do initially but I was keen to start work quickly and was turned off by the university route as although that would satisfy my social preferences I was ready to work.  The Vocational Trainee scheme that Airedale ran at that time gave you the option of rotating around various departments throughout your two year internship and you could do this either in business admin or care.  They provided on the job training and you could study towards a qualification whilst earning money at the same time.  I settled on business admin following some research and then was selected to apply for a higher level internship in Personnel/HR which I applied for and was successful.

 What do you enjoy about your job and about working at Airedale/in the NHS?

I love working at Airedale because it is my local hospital, I was born here and my daughter was born here so I have a fantastic opportunity as an employee to help shape the future healthcare of the hospital and give something back to the local community.  Job satisfaction is important to me; if I’m working hard day in day out I need to know that it’s making a difference.  For me there is nothing more rewarding than working for your local hospital providing healthcare for the local population, including my own family.  I love my job because I connect people and teams to enable them to work together to generate efficiencies and improve processes through multidisciplinary working and the use of technology.  The teams of people that I work with are passionate, committed and driven and it is a privilege to work with them.  Airedale has retained me because there are so many opportunities for personal development to enable you to progress your career with a family-friendly employer.

What else do you do outside of work? E.g. hobbies, caring responsibilities

 Life outside of work revolves around my 11 year old daughter Isla and my Springer Spaniel Boris so we do lots of walking in the Yorkshire Dales.  Isla has Epilepsy so as a single mum I have a lot to juggle on a daily basis and I would not be able to work full time in the job that I do if I did not work for a flexible and supportive family-friendly employer that understands my priorities.

What is your message to women considering a career in the NHS?

Working in the NHS is not for the faint-hearted, it’s hard work and fast-paced but if youwant a challenge I promise it will be the most rewarding job you ever do no matter what career you choose.