Originally from Wales, Sharon decided to return home to Brecon in 2009 to find her work life balance, after settling in England for over 20 years. Her devotion to patients and commitment to career progression has seen Sharon named ‘Health Visitor of the Year 2017’.
“I moved away from Wales at the age of 19 to train as a nurse in the army, because it had always been my ambition. I gained so much life and career experience, I even met my husband in the army, but I always knew I wanted to return to Wales.
“After finishing my Registered General and Sick Children’s Nursing in the army, I undertook further training as a Health Visitor. I loved my work as a Health Visitor, but working and living in Colchester, Essex wasn’t for me. I returned home to mid Wales in 2009 with my husband and to bring up our two children, hoping to discover the work life balance I struggled to achieve in Essex.
“I am now the National Clinical Lead for Perinatal Mental Health in Wales and feel very grateful to Powys Teaching Health Board and the flexible opportunities to both learning and work that are available in Wales. On my return to Brecon, the health board part funded my Master’s degree in Infant Mental Health and allowed me time aside from my work to complete my studies. They have also supported my secondment to my present role.
“Career progression is hugely supported. I was supported to undertake a new role as the Early Action Together Partnership Lead with Dyfed-Powys Police and then seconded into my present role as the National Clinical Lead for Perinatal Mental Health; this was a brand-new role for Wales. This role has provided me with the opportunity to lead the development of services for individuals who are planning a pregnancy, pregnant or have a baby under one. Our aim being to ensure that we promote and support normal emotional transition to parenthood, through to identifying and providing the right care at the right time for those parents who have mental health difficulties. My earlier health visiting experience has proved invaluable within this role and knowing that my role is widely valued makes the job so much more rewarding.
“I am a mother of two and have been provided with the flexibility to manage my time between work and home. I love walking in the Brecon Beacons and the pace of life this presents – my countryside location is perfect for this!
“If you value collaborative working, where the unique role of all services across the perinatal mental health pathway of care are truly recognised and seen as part of the bigger national vision of wanting all individuals to receive the right care at the right time and by the right people, then Wales is the place for you.”