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Published: 18 July 2021

Sunday 18 July 2021 is Black Leaders Awareness Day, an opportunity to share the stories and insights of our community’s black leaders.

Physiotherapy alumna and Operational Manager for district nursing and community podiatry services, Shirley Forson, spoke to us earlier this year as part of our annual Careers Week about changing direction in your career and working towards your goals.

Shirley's career journey

Shirley qualified in the BSc Physiotherapy Class of 2012, and started at King’s College Hospital (KHC) in 2013.

Speaking about her journey into leadership, Shirley says:

“From the foundations laid at SGUL I have been fortunate enough to navigate a fantastic career."

"Having specialised within my field whilst gaining the respect of the wider multidisciplinary team, I needed a new challenge.

"I currently work as an Operational manager in a strictly non-clinical capacity managing community nursing and podiatry services."

"This move has developed my leadership and operational skills and has truly opened up my career prospects.”

After finishing her core rotations and a speciality rotation in Mental Health at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, Shirley specialised as a Band 6 in an area at KCH later known as The Medical Pathway. This rotation covered everything from the Acute Medical Units, Elderly Rehab and Orthopaedics to Intermediate Care and a specialist outpatients unit called the King's Older Person's Assessment Unit (KOPAU).

Following a secondment to Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust within a Band 7 capacity to lead a domiciliary physio service covering the Borough of Southwark, Shirley returned to KCH in 2017 after successfully securing the role of Team Lead Physiotherapist for the Acute Health and Ageing Unit and KOPAU where she specialised in Dementia, falls/balance and vestibular impairment.

Shirley says:

“The role was my dream job, the focus of my career pursuit since my student placement within the team”.

In 2019, Shirley felt it was time for a new challenge focusing on the operations side of the NHS, and currently works within a service named Sutton Health and Care as an Operational Manager for District Nursing and Community Podiatry services.

Hear more from Shirley

Shirely was interviewed by Careers Consultant Emma-Marie Fry about her route into management as part of Careers Week 2021.

Watch the question and answer session below:

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