Publish date: 29 April 2022

West London NHS Trust is proud to congratulate Venus Kan (Madden), Clinical Lead for Occupational Therapy & Vocational Services and Allied Health Professions (AHP) Leadership Fellow at the Trust, on her new Clinical Fellow Role with NHS England. Venus will be working closely with the Chief Allied Health Professions Officer, Suzanne Rastrick.  

Venus began her career journey with us nearly 15 years ago as a senior Occupational Therapist (OT), working closely with patients and playing an important part of their recovery journey. During her time, she has furthered her learning and development in many ways, more notably, going on to complete two masters - all whilst balancing split roles and family life!  

We’re really proud of what she’s achieved at the Trust and wish her well! 

Below, Venus tells us more about her journey and her top development tips for other staff.  You can also listen to her podcast here

How did your development journey begin at West London?  What inspired you? 

I’ve been a qualified OT since 2004, and always wanted work with individuals that have mental health conditions. Initially when I started, the role was more clinical and I worked very closely with patients, being part of their recovery journey. Since joining the Trust, I have seen how everything has an impact on patient care; training and mentoring others for example, and so found myself naturally moving towards the management and operational side of things that play a part towards patient care.   

What are the opportunities like? 

I have a thirst for knowledge and so with the support from my manager, I was able to complete my first masters.  I’m naturally good at managing people and resources, so the masters being very clinical learning helped develop those skills further. It had a real focus on organisational behaviours and helped enhance my clinical knowledge. 

After this, I felt I wanted to be a better leader and explored management opportunities that were available. Essentially, I met with Ali Webster, Deputy Director of Organisational Development and we discussed career pathways. She suggested I enrol in the MBA (Master of Business Administration) Senior Leadership Apprenticeship at a masters level as this fitted in with my career aspirations – and so that’s what I did! 

After completing my second Masters, I had developed more confidence and felt competent enough to push myself further and so applied for the Clinical Fellow opportunity with our Chief AHP Suzanne, which I was successfully offered.   

How has the Trust supported your development? 

There is solid leadership at the Trust and the belief in developing staff and seeing the bigger picture.

"With the ICS (Integrated Care System) coming in, the Trust is keen to offer something to staff to ensure they can take on opportunities not just for West London but also the wider system." 

I’m grateful they have given me the opportunity to complete both masters and I’ve had a lot of help from lots of people and services across the Trust throughout my journey. I feel particularly lucky to have had two very supportive managers and mentors – Annie London (Head of Occupational Therapy and Rehabilitation Therapy Services) and Helen Lycett (Associate Director for AHPs).  They’ve both given me different mentoring and shadowing opportunities which have been invaluable. In particular, the Leadership Fellow posts which Helen had created has given me opportunities to lead projects at a system level, working with a wider range of stakeholders. It certainly helped with my confidence and competency working at a more strategic level. 

I would like to thank Leeanne McGee (Executive Director of High Secure Services) who has so much faith in me and sponsored my research project. Carolyn Regan (Chief Executive) and Nina Singh, (Director of Organisation Development & Workforce) have also been very approachable and inspirational. When I needed support for various projects, they always made the time for me and gave me guidance on selected people to network further with. I’m so grateful and was so surprised that they would speak to a small potato like me! 

The Learning and Development service has also been fantastic, and I can’t thank them enough; being able to access journals and available resources quickly at both sites (Broadmoor and St. Bernard’s) helped so much. As a working professional with a young family, these things made my learning experience much better and easier.  

"Without the people and the services I manage, I wouldn’t have the time to study and so wouldn’t be who I am today. For that, I can’t thank them enough."    

What will you miss most? 

I’ll miss the people I work with, the patients and the fact we have some inspirational senior leaders in the Trust that I can look up to. I feel like I’m leaving a family as I’ve been here for so long. I’m sad to be leaving a Trust that I know well and have high respect for. I’ll miss being part of that.    

Do you have any advice for junior staff/others? 

I have 3 pieces of advice I’ve tried to stick to: 

Firstly, to be curious - always look for different opportunities to develop yourself. Ask questions and take an inquisitive approach. It’s always good to find out more if you’re ever unsure. 

Secondly, be brave – sometimes you need to take a leap of faith and try something different or new. I really like a quote from Amy Cuddy ’Don’t fake it ‘til you make it. Fake it until you become it’.  Anything you do is a new learning and can add to your portfolio. 

Thirdly, embrace imperfections – never let your insecurities hold you back. Work to your strengths and use these to overcome any barriers and challenges along the way.   

What are your plans for the future? Can you tell us more about your Clinical Fellow role? 

I’m an OT by background, one of the 14 allied professional groups. My new Clinical Fellow role means I’ll work closely with Suzanne Rastrick, the Chief AHP Officer of England, and will be working with her directly on various projects on a national level. In particular, implementation and measurement in terms of the national Allied Health Professional Strategy that is due to be published in June.  

I’m excited to see where this next step takes me.

"Whatever happens in the future, I’ll continue making a difference, especially to those with mental health conditions as that’s my passion. I would like to see us talking about mental health as part of our daily conversations."

I’m currently the Chair of the Race Equality Network (REN) for the Trust and will continue doing so for a few more months. Coming from a BAME background, I had my own negative experience and would want to support others not going through the same thing.

"I want to see us working together on a regional, national level and ultimately as a society to fight systematic racism, whilst raising our BAME colleagues’ profile further." 

- Venus Kan (Madden)