Rowan Procter has announced that she is standing down as executive chief nurse at the West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (WSFT) after more than four years in the role, to begin a new venture with the Orwell Housing Association.
Qualified nurse Rowan, who has more than 20 years of NHS nursing experience, specialised in paediatric nursing care and first joined WSFT in 2000 as ward manager on the West Suffolk Hospital’s children’s ward. After spending time in other specialist healthcare roles across Suffolk, Rowan returned to WSFT in 2015 to take up the executive chief nurse position.
Since then, Rowan has overseen a great deal of change and nursing innovations at the Trust. Rowan has supported nursing teams in moving to an electronic patient record system, helped the Trust’s student nurse placement programme to becoming award winning, and supported a directorate of more than 1,000 nursing staff. WSFT now has more nurses than ever before and a high patient to nurse and midwife ratio.
Rowan said: “It has been a great honour to represent my profession at this level, and I am proud of the achievements nursing at WSFT has made against what has, at times, been a challenging backdrop.
“When I first started working for the NHS 20 years ago I could not have imagined the rewarding career that lay ahead of me. It has been a very difficult decision to choose to move on to pastures new, as I’ve been lucky enough to work with a truly amazing team of nurses, midwives, nursing assistants, allied health professionals and clinical practitioners. Seeing them use their empathy, skill and expertise to care for people has been a privilege.
“I am however really excited to be able to take my knowledge and experience of nursing in the NHS and use it in my new role as Director of Care and Support at the Orwell Housing Association. Orwell has some ambitious plans for the future and I am looking forward to being a part of the great work it is renowned for.
“I’d like to say a huge thank you to all staff, nursing and otherwise, who do an incredible job every single day, and who have worked so hard to help make positive changes for patients in what have sometimes been very challenging times. Keep on caring.”
Stephen Dunn, chief executive of WSFT, paid tribute to Rowan, saying: “On behalf of everyone at the Trust, I want to thank Rowan for her drive, determination and unwavering patient-focused approach. She has impacted on so many staff and patients’ lives during her time here. Rowan has always been passionate about nursing and the difference that good quality nurse care can make to real people. We are really sad to see her go, but this is a tremendous opportunity for her in which we are sure she will thrive. Orwell’s gain is absolutely our loss, and we give Rowan our warmest wishes for the future.”
Rowan hopes to take up her new post at Orwell in June. An interim director of nursing will be appointed while recruitment takes place for a permanent director.