Prof Frances Dodd, Executive Nurse Director

How do you feel about taking on a role with such huge responsibilities?

I have been working my whole career as a Nurse and this position for me is the pinnacle of that. In this role I can influence, support, and develop the care of the people of Forth Valley as well as influence and develop the professional groups that I am responsible for.

I have worked in a number of clinical environments and the culmination of my service and professional experience at patient facing, operational and corporate level are all required for this post. I am honoured to have been successful in being recruited to this fantastic role, it is such a huge personal and professional achievement in such a great Board.

At times the responsibility can feel significant, however I am working very hard in my first few weeks in post to build a robust infrastructure around me to ensure I seek guidance and support when I feel the pressures of the role heavier than normal.

I generally have a fairly resilient disposition and try very hard to create the right work-life balance to ensure I pay attention to my resilience and notice when I need to destress.

Are there any major changes you have already identified?

I think that it is too early for me to comment on any major changes as I am only a couple of months in post. I am currently listening, noticing and shaping my opinions on what I see and also on what I need to understand within NHS Forth Valley.

I think it is very important at this time to ensure my ears and eyes are open to all of the potential that exists within Forth Valley and how we best use this across the whole health and social care system to maximise our impact for patients.

How would you describe your management style?

I operate very much in the leadership space and try to ensure my approach to leadership is one of care and compassion. I have been described in the past as someone that people can approach, and I am very clear around accountability and responsibility, holding myself and others to account for our responsibilities.

I work very hard to deliver the best that I can, but also know that I am not able to do this in isolation; I collaborate across the systems to ensure I support the contribution and talents of others to deliver an enhanced result than if I had attempted to do things alone. We play a team sport in healthcare, and I am so glad that I chose this career.

Animal lover?

I come from one of those families where we are all allergic to animals of one type or another and I have sadly passed this onto my children, therefore I have never had anything more than goldfish.

We have over the last 10 years been the dog sitters for our best friends and this has given us the opportunity to experience having an animal to care for and we have enjoyed this.

Earliest memories?

I am a member of a large family, I am number 4 of 6 children, and my earliest memories were of holidays in Europe with my mum, dad and siblings in a tent, where the family worked together, all with our own jobs to make the holidays truly memorable.

I feel I learned a huge amount from my family about how to work with people, how to compromise and how to stand your ground when you feel strongly about something. These lessons have stood me in good stead for my professional life.

Which celebrity or celebrities would you like to meet in person?

I would love to sit and have a cup of tea, a cake and a chat with Judi Dench or Maggie Smith, both very interesting women whom I admire for their work, as well as how they have gone about leading their lives.

Reader or telly addict?

I read a lot at and for work and when I come home, I tend to not have the ability to concentrate on reading unless I am on holiday where it is okay if I read until the wee small hours as I can often not put a book down and need to finish it. I tend not to read very high brow literature, as I like to escape into a book when I have the chance.

Favourite night out?

My favourite night out is generally a meal and chat with my husband and friends. I am always the designated driver as I don’t really like alcohol, apparently this makes me the perfect evening companion as I will always get people home safely.

What makes you laugh?

My husband would say it is him, however I am generally attracted to fun people, people with a bit of spark, people who can do a serious job, but don’t take themselves too seriously. My family are a very fun family and the chatter between myself, my husband and our two adult children has me in hysterics, generally at mine or my husband’s expense.

Laughter in the workplace, within the right context, can be such a great thing, we keep each other going, we support each other, sometimes we laugh at the strangest things, however it keeps us going when the times are tough.

What might people not know about you?

There are a few things that people might not know about me, I am a very active member of a local drama group in my hometown and perform regularly in their choir, as well as in plays, pantomimes and musicals. This creates the opportunity for me to balance the pressures of my professional life with the fun of my personal life. I took a break of about 15 years from this when bringing up my children, however I have come back to it in the last 7 years with renewed enthusiasm, sadly with no more artistic or musical talent!

I was also a very keen swimmer in my teenage years and competed at national level in competitive lifesaving competitions.

What was the best thing your parents told you?

Coming from such a big family, we were all treated as equals, and we all worked together to make living in a house of 8 people as easy as we possibly could. However, the favourite line of both my mum and dad, who were from a fairly working-class background was “Just do your best pet, that is all that we can ask of you”.

Having lost my parents in the last few years, I hope they are looking down on me proud that I continue in all aspects of my life to do my best for the people I have responsibility for.

Attitude to life?

My attitude to life is to be kind, treat others well, work hard, be able to put a contented head on the pillow at night and sleep well, lead with passion, and have fun along the way.

The job that we all do is serious, and we must do it with commitment, however we must also do it with kindness, humility and care.

We only get one life, we must live it well, realise our potential and live it to its fullest.