Jenny Wright – Health and Wellbeing Manager

Jenny WrightA lot is said about hospitals treating seriously ill patients, but little is mentioned about the hard work that goes into improving the health and wellbeing of the local community, before they even come through the doors. Jenny Wright is using her 30 years of NHS service to help do just that.

Jenny, 50, who lives in Worcestershire, is Health and Wellbeing Manager at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals (SWBH) NHS Trust which encompasses developing programmes to improve an individual’s own health and wellbeing.

She said: “I have a nursing background and have worked in the NHS for nearly 30 years, most of this time I have spent working within Sandwell Hospital and started here as a student nurse back  in 1984. I then spent 26 years working within the Midwifery department caring for sick babies on the neonatal unit and in the community and specialised as a neonatal nurse. I still practice in this field, on occasions, as I enjoy the different challenges it can bring.

“Nursing has given me the opportunity to do what I like best in caring for people and to support families and individuals with their own needs. This has been particularly important working within Sandwell and West Birmingham where I can appreciate some of life’s experiences and the problems that folks face living and working in its communities.”

Jenny was brought up by her grandparents and had a difficult upbringing but this didn’t stop her achieving a lot in her career including being recognised by NHS Employers as having a ‘Gold Standard Service’ in SWBH Staff Health and Wellbeing Service.

Jenny commented: “Childhood for me was very much being left on my own to fend for myself and I was brought up on a ‘rough’ council estate. Despite the traumas and tribulations of those times I had loads of love and was taught life’s moral values and how to live life decently. I also spent many hours with my head in books as the library was ‘free’ and often attribute that and the role model of my grandmother as keeping me ‘out of trouble’.

“When you have seen and experienced some of the social inequalities and life’s injustices, that folk can find themselves in through no fault of their own, it gives you a real feel for where people are coming from and it most definitely is the driving force behind what motivates me in helping people to improve their own health, be it physical or mental.”

Away from work Jenny is a championship winning dog breeder having won the ‘Best Dalmatian’ award at Crufts in 2008 and 2013 as well as volunteering with canine rescue societies. The rest of her time is spent with husband Andrew and six year old daughter Izzy.

In a career that has seen her deliver a baby in the back of a car and talk a patient out of knifing a colleague, Jenny is still committed to helping the community of Sandwell and West Birmingham improve their health and wellbeing.