Staff Choice Awards 2018/19
Inspirational Leader Award

Vanessa Cotter

Is the winner of this award

Job title
Clinical Team Leader 
Abbeygate Ward, Wedgwood House 
Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk 

The nomination said...

Vanessa ensures that every member of our team has been able to do their job to the very best of their ability. This has looked very different for individuals but the approach has always been the same. Vanessa has been able to reassure and to support every member of our very large team in all manner of things going on in their lives, both personal and professional. Where some managers may draw a line and said that this was not their problem, Vanessa has continued to support the staff throughout all of their difficulties with good grace and an open heart. Where staff have wanted to develop Vanessa has been very supportive while remaining realistic. Where a development opportunity has not been realistic Vanessa has championed that person to make changes in order to get them to the point where it can be a reality.

This outlook also applies to patients and Vanessa holds no bars at all in delivering the highest standards of patient care, and ensuring that our team live up to this example. This includes instilling a team approach to carers and making sure that they are as supported as they can be, or that they know the next steps to take, and have the confidence to do so. We think she is the best leader in the world.

Vanessa has led our team successfully in implementing the Red 2 Green initiative on our ward. This has been a tricky process with lots of people to educate and motivate. We are pleased to say that this is working well and is now recognised as good practice. The Trust is reviewing a number of pilot sites of which we are one and looking to expand the programme, in part, based on the work led by Vanessa.

Vanessa has also been a key part of the implementation of the Hurst Model work within Wedgwood. Of her own volition, Vanessa has taken the lead to involve members of our team, and herself, in this piece of research which could lead to positive changes for staff teams across the unit. Vanessa has also been very supportive of other projects within our team and has lent this support well and with great enthusiasm, leading to further positive results. Her behaviour in these tasks has been selfless and she has maintained professionalism and respect throughout the whole year no matter what she has been involved in.

There are several key points underpinning Vanessa’s success. The first is the true belief that there is no task to big (or small) that it does not warrant the greatest amount of effort and consideration. This key principle means that whatever task Vanessa is applying herself to she ensures that it has the best chance of success through a full understanding of the task and its aims.

Vanessa also has an incredible respect for people. Vanessa has an amazing way of connecting with people which is both inspiring and reassuring. Her interpersonal skills know no limit and it is one of the most positive approaches we have ever seen. That Vanessa is able to produce this day-in day-out is beyond commendable. It is the best example we can think of for someone to wholly reflect the Trust values.

Due to Vanessa’s supportive approach to the team and her understanding of the professional and personal needs of the whole team, we feel that this a large reason why the team is stable and committed. She is very approachable and never too busy to help others in any manner she can. Vanessa is an excellent role model for all staff on the ward and passionate about her team, the service users and their families & carers. We feel that Vanessa is a confident, competent and a great manager, which through role modelling and her general approach to others, filters down through the team creating a safe, stable and positive ward culture, making Abbeygate a wonderful place to work, where staff, service users and their families feel respected and valued.