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IWD 2021 – Johanna Kelsey

Meet Johanna Kelsey, Lead Radiographer at OneWelbeck Women’s Health

The last year has seen Johanna take the lead in setting up our Enhanced Breast Screening service at OneWelbeck – find out more about her career and who she looks up to.

Please give a summary of your career so far and the inspirational women you’ve encountered along the way.

I started my training in 1988; learnt Mammography in New Zealand whilst working as a Radiographer in Auckland, then qualified as a Mammographer when I came back to the UK to work at a Bupa Hospital which ran Well Woman clinics.  This is where I met my “inspiration” (although don’t tell her!) Erika Denton, who was one of the Radiologists specializing in Breast.  It is her fault that I am where I am today, as she believed in me and could see my potential, even though I couldn’t.

Today, Erika is now the Medical Director of the NHS Trust where I trained and is the National Clinical Director for Diagnostics.

Then I moved to Surrey to work in a large NHS Trust as a Superintendent Radiographer running an Imaging Department with 30 radiographers and 15 Radiologists, a team of Nurses and Admin staff; I worked there for 12 years seeing many changes from film processing to PACS and implementing IEP; installation of MRI scanners and refurbishment of the department.

I also helped establish Triple Assessment Breast clinics working closely with Breast Surgeons and Radiologists and introducing a training programme for Radiographers to learn Mammography. I think that the success of this is service is my proudest achievement to date; with all of the restrictions that we faced, we never had any breeches and we saw all of our patients within the NHS time frame.

Was head hunted in 2016 to take on the post of Clinical Lead at London Breast Institute at Princess Grace Hospital.  This meant leaving behind my Radiography career to concentrate on Breast Imaging. I oversaw the complete refurbishment of the centre to improve patient experience and to increase capacity.  Interesting to be back in Private medicine and its financial challenges and expectations.

Working with the Breast Radiologists at Princess Grace then led me to OneWelbeck where I was asked to consult on the original plans for Women’s Health using my experience to help design and set up the Centre.

It has been an amazing journey; one which I am very proud to be part of, as the Centre is still evolving, but seeing our ideas and plans come to life is incredibly rewarding.  Getting the patients wonderful feedback is what makes it all so worthwhile.

What is your proudest achievement of your career so far?

I helped establish Triple Assessment Breast clinics working closely with Breast Surgeons and Radiologists and introducing a training programme for Radiographers to learn Mammography. I think that the success of this is service is my proudest achievement to date; with all of the restrictions that we faced, we never had any breeches and we saw all of our patients within the NHS time frame.

The theme of International Women’s Day this year is #choosetochallenge – how do you choose to challenge yourself and those around you in a work setting to improve on results and outcomes?

I challenge myself with IT !!  I’m from the “pen and paper” era but am embracing the new IT system that we have at OneWelbeck and trying to promote it to the clinicians that we have on board to persuade them of the advantages!

We’re obviously aiming to be paperless and so I’ve had fun designing request forms, referrals, patient information and leaflets.  Once stream-lined, the whole process aids the patient flow and looks so efficient and modern.

What has been the main challenge as far as the Covid-19 pandemic is concerned?

The whole pandemic has brought restrictions to every way of life; as a Radiographer who specialises in Mammography, I have to be close to my patients otherwise I’m not doing a good job!  So, the social distancing is difficult.  People can tell a lot by facial expressions, so wearing masks, and not being able to see how your patient is feeling is a huge obstacle, but necessary.