Tracie Ellis: Head of Healthcare, HMP Oakwood
For those with a nagging feeling that their first profession is not their forever career, Tracie Ellis’ story is a true inspiration – and now she leads the healthcare team at one of the UK’s largest and busiest prisons.
Tracie had spent 20 years working in HR when she was suddenly drawn back to a childhood desire to be a nurse. She explained: “I had had a successful career working in corporate HR for large companies, mainly in the electronic and automotive sectors.
“I had moved into operational roles and I found my love of detail and organisation had paid professional dividends, but something still was unfulfilled. That all changed when I attended a nursing open day.”
Tracie went on to study at Staffordshire University, qualifying as an RGN. As part of her training she spent three months working at a prison, so when a full-time post came up at HMP Brinsford she jumped at it.
She later took two years away from prison healthcare to work in the community, honing her chronic pain management skills. She returned to prison healthcare, this time at HMP Oakwood where she worked as a deputy head of healthcare before taking over the top role.
She said: “I feel as if all my skills and training have come together, enabling me to develop the team and to manage the service and our relationship with the prison service and commissioners, all while ensuring our patients get the best possible physical and mental care.
“Professionally, I am positively challenged and I feel as if I am adding to my team and the wellbeing of patients. Practice Plus Group has been very supportive and I hope that, by continuing with my training opportunities, I will be able to progress further. I hope to become a regional manager so that I can ensure best practice is spread throughout our area’s prisons for the good of patients and the wonderful people who support them.”
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