26 November 2021

My Career : Lee, Theatre Manager

While people change career direction during their lives, our Theatre Manager, Lee, must have one of the most startling.

Having started his working life as cabin crew for international airlines, it became clear to him that this wasn’t something he wanted to do long-term – but he was at a loss as to what his next role should be.

Lee recalls, “I saw a careers advisor, who was able to help me understand my likes and dislikes in the world of work. Once these were taken into account, it seemed that nursing was the career that was the best fit for me. Funnily enough, my mum had been a night nurse, so perhaps it was always meant to be!”

After qualifying in nursing, Lee spent a few years in the NHS, working in ICU. “Ultimately, I found my experience of the NHS quite frustrating. Changes were very slow to be implemented and there was a lot of bureaucracy, which meant that I made my way towards the private sector relatively quickly.”

Initially a recovery nurse, Lee then progressed to be a recovery lead and went to university to gain a qualification in peri-operative care.

In the following years, he gained extensive experience in the independent healthcare sector, including working on a project as a Deputy Theatre Manager to build a new hospital in Manchester. “That was exciting, as it was so different to what I’d done before,” he smiles. “The building was built from scratch, and so I started out wearing a hard hat and providing input that would help the facility to succeed from the day it opened.”

From there, Lee headed back onto the independent healthcare frontline as a Theatre Manager with several private healthcare providers, before working on an agency basis and then joining Transform Hospital Group as Theatre Manager at The Pines Hospital in Manchester this year.

Has Lee found any differences between life here and the organisations he’s worked for previously? “Definitely!” he says. “I have much more autonomy now. The skills and experience you have as a healthcare professional are respected, and you have the breathing space to be able to do your job to the best of your ability. So often in the past, the role has been all-consuming and I’ve constantly been on a laptop in the evenings, or travelling a lot in the UK and further afield. That’s not the case here.

“And the company is very receptive to change,” he adds. “Suggestions for improvement are seriously considered, and often taken onboard. I like to get my team involved in discussing challenges we might have, so that we can come up with ways to overcome them and implement any changes needed. I think that has a real impact on the quality of care that we’re able to provide to our patients. They’re never just a number to us.”

Lee’s also been impressed by the friendly yet professional atmosphere within the business. “What I’ve noticed is how good the communication is. You’re kept in the loop, so nothing comes as a surprise, and colleagues are involved in decision-making. Although, obviously, Transform Hospital Group is a business, you do have the time you need to care for and look after your patients.

He continues, “We have a busy theatre, but being able to carry out more procedures more efficiently means that we can help to change more people’s lives more quickly. There aren’t the long periods of downtime that you can sometimes find in healthcare settings, which can mean that time drags - the days do pass quickly!”

Lee points to the swift evolution of Transform Hospital Group as a positive for other healthcare professionals who may be considering making changes in their own careers. “The company is progressing quite rapidly. Although it’s been known as a leader in cosmetic surgery for many years, new modalities are being introduced all the time, including orthopaedics and gynaecology. That’s motivational for my team, because they can acquire additional skills and continue to learn and develop professionally in their time with us.

“It’s an exciting time to work in theatre at Transform Hospital Group. Who wouldn’t want to be part of it?”