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Our theatre staff and the Lord Plant Travel Fellowship

Anaesthetists at Benenden Hospital

One of the many benefits to working at our hospital is the opportunity to apply for the Lord Plant Travel Fellowship with up to £3,000 for the successful staff member to travel anywhere globally and learn about healthcare related ideas.

Simon Brooks

Simon Brooks, talks about his role at our hospital.

What is your role at Benenden Hospital?

“I have worked at Benenden Hospital for about 14-15 years now as the Clinical Lead for Anaesthesia and Recovery. I was in the army as a combat medic before I had a career change and began working in hospital operating theatres. I had to decide between two roles: Nursing and an Operating Department Practitioner.

“Due to a similar unpredictability between the army and the operating theatres, I chose the latter. People wear uniforms in the army and hospital staff wear scrubs which is like a uniform too. There is a hierarchy in both workplaces too, with our Matron Ali being at the very top here. I don’t think I’d be suited to office work because I really enjoy the unpredictability of theatre. Every day I ask: what will today bring?

What do you enjoy about your role?

“I’ve been supported in bringing my own good ideas from past roles to this hospital. For example, over the last few years we got an accreditation with the Royal College of Anaesthetists. Proudly, we are the first independent hospital in the country that has received an anaesthetic accreditation. I think that Benenden Hospital has one of the best anaesthetic departments I’ve ever worked in.

“Patients see us as their safety net and their point of contact so we make sure we can provide the best possible experience for them. With the staff team, because we’ve been working in the same departments for so long, we all know each other’s habits which makes things run even smoother.”

What was your experience with the Lord Plant Travel Fellowship?

Simon’s application to Lord Plant was successful! Here, Simon Brooks explains where he went, why he applied and what his experience entailed.

“The reason I applied to Lord Plant is because when I was in Tanzania, I saw Mount Kilimanjaro in the distance, and it looked so adventurous. From that moment on, I decided I really wanted to climb it. I spoke about climbing Mt Kilimanjaro with lots of other Anaesthetists, Theatre Practitioners and Nurses at work and we all equally wanted to complete this challenge.

“There's no other hospital I've ever worked at that has this brilliant Lord Plant Travel Fellowship. You must apply for it, then do a presentation about why you really want to travel to a particular place. Then if you are successful, they will give you the money and the time to do it. I remember when we did our presentation it was a little bit anxiety provoking for us. However, with everybody being so supportive at Benenden Hospital, it made it a lot easier for us to go ahead with and eventually accomplish!

“I’m a trustee of a local charity called Safe Anaesthesia Worldwide where they go to poorer countries to do training and to supply hospitals with new equipment. So, I thought how can we merge climbing the mountain with this amazing charity work? As a result, we raised £5,000 to buy some medical equipment which we donated to a hospital underneath Mt Kilimanjaro called Moshi. You can see the mountain from the A&E department! The Anaesthetists on our team trained the staff at Moshi to improve the patient experience there.

“In total, we had eight days of acclimatisation and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. It's helped me to develop personally and professionally because it took a lot of organising of a lot of people with a variety of skills and abilities. One of the biggest takeaways was no matter your ability, you can still achieve your dreams and goals. We would close each day with a team debrief. One lady said she didn’t want to climb to the top of the mountain. So, we supported her decision because she had already accomplished so much.

“We’re doing the three peaks again soon, with Anaesthetists and Surgeons from Benenden Hospital, it really brings us together and makes us a closer family. We feel proud that our workplace gives us these opportunities. Why wouldn't anybody else want to pursue their dreams when Benenden hospital offers the Lord Plant Travel Fellowship?”

Alina Morozova

Alina Morozova is a Senior Theatre Practitioner (specialising in Anaesthetics) at our hospital. Here she tells us why she enjoys working at the hospital.

Tell us about your role at Benenden Hospital

“My role at Benenden Hospital is an Anaesthetic Practitioner. So, I assist the Anaesthetist in putting patients to sleep safely. Without us, surgeons wouldn’t be able to perform operations on their patients.”

What do you enjoy most about your role?

“I feel excited to go to work because I never know what the day will look like, what it will bring me and how I will adapt to it. So every day is a surprise and a challenge in a good way, never a routine and always a chance to grow and develop. Theatre staff always need to be ready to use their knowledge and skills in case something doesn’t go according to plan. Successfully managing a changing working routine increases job satisfaction and makes your role more meaningful and rewarding.”

“I really get on with all the staff and it’s like a little family here really. The facilities at the hospital are amazing, four years ago there was a big redevelopment so now it looks more like a hotel where patients can receive their medical treatment. The staff are happy and relaxed at work and the patients are welcomed, they feel safe and are grateful to be here.

“We help each other to overcome problems and if I’m having a bad day, say if I didn’t sleep well, I can be open with my colleagues about it. The same goes for our patients. Many people come in and they’ve never had general anaesthetics before, so they’re scared. But we dissolve their anxiety by reassuring them. Sometimes, I work in recovery too and I am the first person they see when they wake up.”

Where did the Lord Plant Fellowship take you?

Alina’s first ever application to Lord Plant was successful! Here, Alina explains what she learnt from her travels.

“I was very lucky that the first time I applied to the Lord Plant Fellowship I won! One of the reasons I applied for Lord Plant is because I love travelling, meeting new people and experiencing different places and cultures. The other reason was because I wanted to see Mayo Clinic in America with my own eyes. If you work in healthcare you will know Mayo Clinic because so much research is based on their practice, so it is an excellent example of how healthcare should be.

“I went to America for three weeks and it was an amazing experience. I visited a very highly rated medical organisation and it was a great opportunity and I gained a lot of knowledge. I was so impressed on their highly skilled practice and expert medical knowledge.

“I’m now really inspired to update my skills and to improve and reach higher in my practice. My travel experience gave me so many ideas. I would recommend applying to the Lord Plant Fellowship because it’s not only a great opportunity to see the world, but to improve your personal and professional skills too.”


If you’re interested in a career at our CQC Outstanding hospital, visit our careers page.

Published on 31 August 2021