35 years and counting – Julie is our NHS Hero

This week, Julie Morgan (51) celebrates her 35th anniversary of working in the NHS. Her journey began on 13 June 1984, when she was just 16 years old, and her love for the organisation, which has helped her both personally and professionally shows no signs of letting up yet!

Julie, who currently works as learning and development administration manager, at Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Trust (DWMH) credits her sister as the one who got her NHS career started.

“I was ready to start a catering course at Halesowen College,” explains Julie.

“But my sister, Claire, who is just 18 months older than me, was working at Dudley Family Practitioner Committee and she came home and told me about a three month vacancy which was coming up. I decided to go for the interview, see what it was like and then make a decision – and 35 years later, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made!”

Julie’s first position was as a visual display unit operator for the cervical screening programme.

“I didn’t really know much about the role,” laughed Julie, “but I remember picking it up quite quickly. We had to match the results of the screening programme to patients’ records and then send them a letter with the results.”

Little did Julie know then that the screening programme, which was still in its infancy, would have such an effect on her life.

“Not only did that role start my professional career, years later the programme would save my life. In 2008, after a routine smear test, I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Following fantastic treatment, I went on to make a full recovery and have been cancer free for 11 years this month.

“It’s not until you are on the other side that you truly realise what an amazing organisation the NHS is and the amount on wonderful people who work within it – these people are my heroes and I am truly grateful to the NHS for giving me both a fantastic career, and the opportunity to watch my children grow-up.”

Julie’s role at DWMH involves her managing a small team of staff who run the learning and development programme for approximately 1,200 staff.

On a day to day basis, Julie can be found ensuring teams are compliant with their mandatory training requirements, organising any specialised external training and supervising the team. It’s a job she really enjoys.

“I am a people person and I get to speak to different people each day, and I really enjoy helping them with their training needs and ultimately their career development,” said Julie.

“I especially enjoy working with apprentices we have in our team, and I take great pride in watching them grow and gain permanent positions within other teams in the Trust.”

In her spare time, Julie enjoys socialising with friends and family and enjoying weekends away and other holidays – she can often be found in Cala Llonga in Ibiza, which is where she goes to get away from it all.

Julie’s mental health message: “Be open and able to talk about your mental health – there is a catalogue of help available so don’t be afraid to seek it.”