5 minutes with…Michelle Johnson, National Clinical Executive Director, NHS Supply Chain

10th April 2024
Corinne Attwood
Senior Researcher

In the latest 5 minutes with… Hannah Wade, Associate Partner, and Corinne Attwood, Senior Researcher, in our Healthcare Practice, sat down with Michelle Johnson. Hannah and Corinne were delighted to place in her current position as National Clinical Executive Director for NHS Supply Chain. Here, Michelle spoke about her career journey to date, starting off as a Children’s Nurse, progressing to Chief Nursing Officer, and more recently, moving into the world of Supply Chain.


How is the role going Michelle?

I have had an incredibly good welcome; I am 3 months into the current role. I thought I knew the NHS quite well, but I am adjusting to different vocabulary, and a national role, on a much larger scale. I have taken on a role that had evolved within the organisation, in a permanent capacity, and so there is still elements of my role that are being shaped. For me, it is all about who I work with, that is the most important, and these are exactly the type of people I want to be working with.

I am still slightly in awe that I have this job, and I wouldn’t have applied for it, had Corinne not approached me and encouraged me to apply. Though, looking back, there are a lot of transferable skills I can bring to the role, and the timing was perfect. I was starting to think about what was next for me in my career after my time within an integrated care board and prior to that in two chief nurse roles.


How have you got to where you are today, what have been some of your key achievements along the way?

There are 2 key success points for me, I have had, and I am continuing to have an amazing career. I viewed myself as a Children’s Nurse through and through, prior to taking on a secondment as Head of Nursing for community health services, which was pivotal for me, and allowed me to realise just how many transferable skills I have. I realised we shouldn’t be limited to where we have pigeonholed ourselves. I didn’t have the ambition that I should have, predominantly because of low self-belief, which often comes with the profession, combined with being a woman. Taking a role as Chief Nurse at Whittington Health NHS Trust, was the ultimate opportunity to conquer that self-limiting attitude.  I had a number of motivating and stretching jobs on my route to becoming a Chief Nurse

I was encouraged by a Senior Nurse Director to apply for a Florence Nightingale Foundation leadership scholarship programme, which supported my development through the completion leadership diagnostics of who I am as a person and professional, and how to develop as a leader. The programme also offered bespoke leadership development, coaching and networking with other nurses at a similar point in their career, to where I was. I was more introverted and shyer than I am now, and hadn’t really considered leadership programmes up until then, but I was told to “go for it”, and I did!


Have you had many mentors, and what would your advice to others be around coaching and mentoring?

Initially my experience of mentoring was pretty informal and ad hoc and then through my leadership development I was fortunate to have a formal mentor, since then I have absolutely seen the benefit of it. Alongside I had executive coaching which has enabled me to be the best I can in my job whilst mentoring has given me the thinking time to my career development. I currently mentor quite a few Nurses and had a chance to network last week when we were celebrating International Women’s Day and encouraged a few people to reach out to ask someone to be their mentor. People don’t ask as they often worry about how busy someone is, I have never said no or had anybody say ‘no’ to being my mentor, and if they are too busy, they would often connect me with someone else who can support. It is something I am trying to encourage more of within the clinical workforce in NHS Supply Chain.

What do you want to have achieved within the next 12 months at NHS Supply Chain?

I am in this for the long run, and for me, a large part of my initial time is looking inward supporting the clinical workforce to grow and develop, to build on their current successes working with NHS trusts. As time goes on my focus will be to work with NHS England, national and regional teams, and integrated care systems to consider how we can support trusts to reduce unwarranted variation and improve quality of care through clinical procurement of medical devices and products.


If you are looking to progress your career within the Healthcare sector, do not hesitate to speak to our NHS Healthcare Practice. You can contact Corinne Attwood, or Hannah Wade via their pages.

Categories: NHS Healthcare