IWD 2024: Female role models

IWD 2024: Female role models

Kate Wood, Group Chief Medical Officer, Hull University NHS Teaching Hospitals and Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust.

My career in medicine as a doctor has been fulfilling and I am very proud to be the chief medical officer of one of the largest NHS organisations in the country.

I didn’t always want to be a doctor – I originally thought accountancy was more my thing until I spent some time volunteering in my local hospital, and then from the age of 16 onwards I was hooked on medicine being my life goal.

Since becoming a doctor, I have always wanted to make a difference to the people I serve, and became passionate about not just making a difference to the patients, but also the staff that look after the patients – hence me moving my focus from the individual patient to the more organisational oversight. Did I have a particular role model for this? Not really. And did I think that being a female was an issue? Not really. But did I face obstacles along the way – absolutely.

My message to women on International Women’s Day – be proud of who you are and what you are. Never apologise for being a woman. Be the best version of yourself that you can be and strive for your aspirations and dreams.

Kate Wood.

Looking back over my career, did I think that obstacles were barriers that needed to be overcome? I think that is probably the case, as I certainly was not aware that being a woman was a particular positive or negative in my journey. It just was what it was. We all get on with some people, and not with others – this is the way of the world – but in my mind, we all have to be united by a common goal of looking after our staff and patients – and that is my guiding light.

There is always an element of competition in some of the things that I have done in the past, and in any competition there are winners and losers – so if I was unsuccessful in something then I would just try harder the next time.

I didn’t really have a female role model, and indeed there are some women of influence that (in my opinion) have not done the gender proud, but it is important to be able to aspire to be the best version of yourself – and not to be distracted from this.