At UHL, we strive to provide a positive working environment, where all can excel. Here are just some of our colleagues’ inspiring career development stories.

We deliver a wide range of education, training and clinical practice development opportunities across the Trust, ensuring that your development is our priority and our teams are supported to be the best they can be.

“My ambition is to keep going up and up.”

Dimpal Solanki, who joined UHL as a Healthcare Assistant in 2018, is one of our latest cohort of Trainee Nursing Associates to complete their two-year apprenticeship.

After celebrating her graduation at the Curve this week, she’s ready to step up to her new role in Adults ED and is excited about what the future holds.

“My clinical skills are much more developed now. The scope of what I can do is much wider than before and I’m not stopping here.”

Clinical Nurse Educators

A new team of Clinical Nurse Educators (CNEs) has been set up to support the transition and warm welcome of newly-registered nurses, nursing associates and Health Care Assistants into UHL.

Each CNE will each support a cohort of new staff in their clinical areas, helping them to settle into life at UHL. They will work within the School of Nursing and Midwifery Practice to support faculties which deliver OSCE training, transition and preceptorship, and induction for HCAs and support workers.

Clinical Nurse Educator, Rosmary Roque, said: “I qualified as a nurse ten years ago in the Philippines. I joined UHL’s OSCE programme and, with a lot of support along the way, I’ve worked in various areas, including cardiac surgery, medicine and intensive care.

“As a CNE, I want to be able to help new members of staff get on the path to becoming the professionals they want to be.”

Sunil’s road to registration

As a registered nurse in Pakistan, Sunil Patras was keen to make his way as a healthcare professional after moving to the UK. However, he was unable to practice as a nurse until he could qualify for registration with the Nursing & Midwifery Council. He worked for UHL in various roles, including as a Health Care Assistant, until the Education & Practice Development team reached out to offer their support.

“They told me they could help HCAs who are registered nurses back home to gain UK registration. I thought: Now I have the direction I need.”

The first step for Sunil was to prove his English language competence, a prerequisite for UK registration. However, when Sunil tried to pass his exam, he found it difficult, failing on several occasions.

Sunil soon received a formal diagnosis of severe dyslexia. And, with the required support, he went on to pass the Occupational English Test for Healthcare Professionals. Clearing this hurdle allowed him to progress, pass his OSCE exam and be registered as a nurse in the UK.

“It was a hard process for me, but I received all the support I needed. Life can be challenging, but nothing is impossible. If I can do it, so can you.”

“Believe in yourself”

Arriving from the Philippines in 2015, Nikko Laviana began his NHS career as Healthcare Assistant and has now recently been appointed as Deputy Charge Nurse in Emergency Department.

Nikko says the journey has been possible through the sharing of “support, knowledge and expertise” from colleagues.
Here are Nikko’s three key pieces of advice for people on their career journey: “Believe in yourself, believe in your strength and abilities, and believe that you can always make a difference!”

“I received the best support and guidance”

I started working at the Gynaecology Assessment Unit (GAU) after I qualified from my nursing studies in London. I began my preceptorship on the unit where I was introduced to a variety of cases that broadened my knowledge on women’s health and revealed to me that each day is never the same. My interest in women’s health sparked during my first year of university; I realised how many specialties are involved in the treatment of the female body and how much physical as well as emotional support I wanted to provide through a mixture of medical and surgical interventions.

I have had the privilege of working with a welcoming team who have been eager to orient me and teach me new skills that I have since maintained and further developed. During my preceptorship, I received the best support and guidance on providing the best care for my patient’s along with the opportunity to work with various team members such as the specialist nurses and the doctors.

Working on GAU quickly enhanced my confidence, and with the support of my mentor, I felt comfortable working independently and being able to transfer my knowledge and skills to new staff members and students.

Since working on GAU, I have witnessed myself grow into a resilient nurse and I am fortunate to be in an environment that brings new ideas and changes that benefit the patient and staff. Being in a modified department has inspired me to continue to work towards pursuing new ideas that I can share upon my future encounters.

Roll of honour

We recognise your contribution and commitment to the delivery of clinical care and research opportunities. Many of our nurses and midwives work across multi-disciplines, and as well as maintaining their clinical competencies they also lead and support clinical trials.

Hope nurses collect award on behalf of Hope Against Cancer
Hope Against Cancer, the Leicestershire and Rutland cancer research charity that donates so much funding to our research projects and to the Hope Cancer Trials Centre, has been recognised by Voluntary Action Leicestershire with its ‘County Charity of the Year’ award.

The award is accepted on behalf of not only of all the researchers, consultants, academics, administrators and medical staff that have been helped by Hope funding, but also the charity’s direct employees, supporters, donors and volunteers. Two of our wonderful Hope Cancer Trials Centre nursing staff, Theresa Beaver and Molly Scotland, were on hand to receive the award.

“I never even imagined that I would become a nurse, let alone a lead nurse who is now studying at Masters level.”

25 years after starting her NHS journey as a Health Care Assistant, our Head and Neck Cancer Specialist Sister, Tracy Robinson, is emerging as a leader in her field by training to become an Advanced Clinical Practitioner (ACP).

Qualified ACPs take direct clinical responsibility for the patients they see, while also getting involved in research, audits, service improvement and education.

“The ACP role is brilliant, as you’re still caring for patients as a nurse, but you’re also reviewing and assessing them, planning their treatment plans and discharge,” explains Tracy. “As an ACP, you’re empowered to make decisions and prescribe, within your specialist area.”

As trainee ACP for Maxillofacial, Tracy is available to see head and neck cancer and trauma patients in our Emergency Department, supporting doctors and improving patient flow by managing them appropriately. She also carries out on-call shifts alongside junior doctors, which takes her to departments all over the LRI.

“Accompanying the doctors means that my scope of practice has expanded hugely. Now, I’m seeing everyone from newborn babies to patients at the end of their lives.”

Rachel’s Maternity Journey

Trailblazer Rachel Darling made a huge career change to join Leicester’s Hospitals, after 30 years working in the civil service. Now, she has become our first Maternity Support Worker to successfully complete the UK Resuscitation Council’s Newborn Life Support course.

The consultant-led Newborn Life Support course teaches healthcare professionals the essential practical skills and theoretical knowledge needed to best aid the newborn infant in an emergency. This builds on Rachel’s existing newborn resuscitation training and is due to be rolled out to more MSWs in 2023.

Rachel said: “I have already learned so much since joining the team, but this training is an extra string to my bow.”

As a community MSW, Rachel’s duties include visiting newborn babies in their early days at home to carrying out physical examinations, weighing the infants, completing their blood spot tests and offering feeding support, where required.

Rachel began her career with UHL as a maternity care apprentice in 2017. After passing her apprenticeship, with Distinction, she has progressed to what she says is her ‘dream job’ as an MSW in the Mallory community midwifery team, serving north-west Leicestershire.

“As a Maternity Support Worker, I love the autonomy of organising my own workload and making decisions, while working with such a supportive team of people, who all communicate so well.

“It was a big career change for me, but I wanted to be involved in helping people day to day. I wanted to work with mums and babies and this is the job I wanted to get to.”

Community Team Leader, Adeline Townsend, said: “Rachel put her hand up to be the first MSW to complete this training, which is what makes her special. I am incredibly proud of her and all of our MCAs and MSWs, who are an integral part of our team..”

Magda’s Maternity Journey

“My name is Magda and I am a Midwife working at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust. Part of the time I work clinically in one of the Maternity Units and the other part I work in research as a Research Midwife.

My journey in England, started in May 2011, so it has been nearly been 12 years since I started working here. I was one of three first Polish midwives employed by UHL and we were pioneers. From the start we were well supported. I was given an opportunity to learn about law and guidelines and complete a transitional module at one of the Universities. I had an excellent preceptorship period with an approachable preceptor and had great support from the Midwifery Education Team.  During this time, I was given the opportunity to complete mandatory training and I felt supported all the way along.

If you are passionate about something, if you have ideas that will lead to improvement, or if you are not sure yet what your interests are then UHL is the place to be! There is always plenty of training and development opportunities here in UHL. There are mandatory training days, optional training days (internal and external), online learning platforms, virtual meetings and sessions.  

There is something for everyone. I was always passionate about enhanced maternity care and looking after high risk patients. I was supported and provided with additional training to develop my skills and knowledge. You will also be given opportunities to develop as a mentor, supervisor or preceptor and take part in various educational sessions. UHL is definitely a place of great career development opportunities. As a teaching hospital UHL provides you with clinical, academic or combined career development pathways.

In 2013 I  start my journey as a research midwife in a part time post. As I learnt more about research, I grew to love it and became passionate about it. I was provided with excellent leadership, mentoring and support not only from my manager but from my work colleagues – fantastic women’s health research team. I was able to develop and progress my career in research and in November 2021 I became a Research and development Midwife.

I cannot say thank you enough for all the support, teaching, mentoring and leadership I have experienced throughout the years, working in University Hospitals of Leicester.  I have met fantastic teachers, inspirational leaders, caring and passionate people. I’ve learned what teamwork is. I become part of the team ( Team UHL), working alongside people who share the same values and who have patients in centre of their care. I have made friends for life.”

Take the next step towards a more rewarding career


At University Hospitals of Leicester, we are a forward thinking team with a philosophy of providing the best possible care to women, babies, and their families. This is achieved by providing effective training, education and working collaboratively as a midwifery and medical team.


At UHL nursing is varied and exciting with many of our specialities offering the latest technologies, techniques and medicines. We develop a highly skilled and motivated nursing workforce who care for our patients and each other with kindness and respect


The Nursing Associate role is still relatively new. Depending on the place of employment, skills and responsibilities will vary but they play a key role within the healthcare team. UHL host the Leicestershire School of Nursing Associates that have up to 150 trainee places per year.


At University Hospitals of Leicester, Healthcare Assistants make sure the patient experience is as comfortable and stress-free as possible. It can also be the stepping stone into many other NHS roles, particularly roles such as a Nursing Associate or Registered Nurse.