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Spotlight on: Piia Orava

I have been in healthcare for over 24 years having graduated from LAB University in Lahti, Finland with qualifications in Applied Sciences in Health Care and Social Services in 1998. After graduation I worked in the Stroke/neurological unit of the main teaching hospital in Lahti.

I arrived in the UK in August 1999 and worked in the NHS at Morden’s St Hellier hospital where they had a large contingent of Finnish nurses working, and it introduced me to the fast pace of UK health care.

I have had various nursing roles in my career, including working on a cardiac surgical ward which I enjoyed very much. It’s very rewarding to see a patient make a successful recovery after a coronary artery bypass graft for example. The whole person changes with the physical and psychological significantly improved.

I took a short break to take maternity leave for the birth of my son Samuel in 2004, after which I returned to work as an agency nurse, specialising in tracheostomy. I joined London Medical in 2012 as I knew the founder Dr Ralph Abraham and his wife Carmel and have enjoyed it greatly since!

My managerial philosophy in my role at the clinic as Nurse Manager is summed up using the words of former USA President Ronald Reagan “The greatest leader is not necessarily the one that does the greatest things, she is the one that sets the people to do the greatest things.”

I believe in fairness above everything else in the workplace so that everyone feels valued and safe. I like to energise my staff at London Medical, so they feel empowered and important, allowing them to do an amazing job. I also wish to promote honesty and increase open communication in the nursing team and different departments because its important that we do the right thing for the clinic and our patients.

My role includes the management of the direct nursing team and I support and teach new nurses so they settle into the team quickly. Teaching and sharing our knowledge with other departments is the key for smooth and successful operations at London Medical.

The best thing about working for London Medical is that we are a team where everyone knows each other. In the nursing team in particular we work very closely together and we support each other in both our personal and professional lives. We must remain flexible but there is no fear in approaching the management as I have always felt supported here. It has personally meant a great deal to me in different difficult times along with extremely challenging life situations over the years.

I would describe the culture of the clinic to be very friendly, open and fair, respecting an individual’s beliefs and spiritual needs with a duty of candour towards our patients. We are very responsive to the needs of patients as their health and wellbeing are our sole focus. London Medical is here to provide the patient with specialists that work closely together to ensure they consider their whole body and that any care plans provide complete solutions that are carefully tailored to them.

When I am not at work I love walking outdoors, enjoying nature in the Kent countryside, coast and woodlands very much. I enjoy gardening and yoga to relax too.

In June I completed the South Coast Mighty Hike to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support with a friend Vilma who was previously a nurse at London Medical. It was a 26-mile hike from Brighton to Eastbourne – the distance of a marathon.

It is a cause that’s close to my heart as my father had been fighting melanoma for the past 13 years. He was progressing well, totally asymptomatic during those years with regular check-ups. Unfortunately, a month after I signed up for the challenge he was diagnosed with terminal illness with multiple metastasis, and he passed away at the end of May.

This made me even more determined to complete the challenge even though it was quite tough, particularly in the last 7 miles but I finished hand in hand with my friend, determined to complete another challenge again!

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