OM Health & Wellbeing: How It All Began...
"OM was born 3 years ago. Our official birthday is in July, but as we got our first paid gig in November 2017 we always class that as when we 'arrived'!"
Sue and Annie both worked together in September 2009 and even if they do say so themselves, they were a great duo. Sue was Annie's boss back then and they worked tirelessly to ensure the local schools under their care knew who they were and that every young person who attended those schools also knew them!
Fast forward to July 2017 and the conversation turned to "Should we start our own business?" With the help of an inspirational mentor, they took the plunge and proudly joined the 15% of women who start their own business. 65% of women think about it, but only 15% actually do it!
Sue retired from the NHS after 40(ish) years and Annie resigned from her job. It was a huge step but one that neither of them has ever regretted! Annie and Sue now work with a Multi-Academy Trust, which comprises 31 schools across Suffolk, plus numerous other schools, trainee teachers and clients within the corporate world.
OM has won Theo Paphitis's Small Business Sunday and been commissioned by Dr Pooky Knightsmith, an internationally respected champion of child and
adolescent mental health, to produce a 'Creative Education' training course.
"We really feel that we're making a difference and loving every minute of it!"
25 Years' Experience
RGN, Ba(Hons), SCPHN
I can never really remember wanting to do anything but be a nurse! So, I went off to Kings College Hospital in London and completed my training many years ago. But it was not what I was expecting, and I soon decided that working in a hospital was not for me and I found myself working as a temporary admin assistant for a leading temp agency in the heart of London. I distinctly recall one day sitting across the desk from my ‘temp handler’ and thinking, "I could do that", so I applied.
I decided that I wanted to be a manager of my own branch and was promoted within 18 months. I managed the Jermyn Street branch and was responsible for a staggering budget! Then along came family, we ended up moving to Suffolk and I became a full-time mum.
As my youngest started school I started thinking about what next for me. I worked in schools and toyed with the idea of being a teacher – even went to university and did an English and History degree, which I really enjoyed, but somehow Nursing was still in my blood and when the stars aligned and a local hospital offered a ‘Return to Nursing Practice’ course, it seemed like fate.
My first thought having completed the course was, "I still don’t think working in a hospital is for me", so when I saw an advert for a Staff Nurse post with a School Nursing team, I applied. At last, it felt like I was in the right place! I loved the variety of School Nursing – no 2 days were ever the same – and I liked working with schools and young people and especially liked all of the health promotion work.
When an opportunity arose to complete the additional 1-year university course to become a Specialist Community Public Health Nurse (SCPHN - School Nursing), I applied. After 2 years, I started to climb the ladder again but found it difficult and a lack of funding and resources just caused frustration.
My love of School Nursing has not diminished but, with Sue (the other co-founder of OM), we decided to take the leap and start our own business and OM Health and Wellbeing Consultancy was born!
When the careers teacher said you can either go into nursing or be a Domestic Science teacher my future was set. All my family know that I really don’t do cooking! I should have known this would be my future as my Mum and 2 aunts where nurses, so it was in my blood.
I did my 3-year adult training at a local hospital in Yorkshire and qualified as a State Registered Nurse (SRN), this probably gives my age away. My last placement was on the children’s ward which I loved and a few years later I found myself at Great Ormond Street hospital doing my Sick Children’s nursing, what an experience. Much of my early adult life was spent working on different children’s wards around the country.
When my children came along, I decided to look for a career which was more family-friendly and found school nursing. I loved it from the start, very different from looking after sick children as this was a public health role. I was empowering children, young people, their families and the whole school community to look after their own health.
The diversity of the role was great, and I found that I loved working with teenagers in particular. As the role involved working with a lot of emotional health, I decided to do a diploma in person-centred psychodynamic counselling. This gave me a variety of skills to use in my role with young people and their families.
Over the years of working in school nursing, I have seen many changes and not all of them in the child’s best interest. So, when the opportunity to start a business with a colleague (and friend) came along it was a no-brainer! And OM was created.
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