Meet the women of Nuffield Health - Carol Kefford

In the lead up to International Women’s Day (8th March), we have interviewed some of the inspirational women working at Nuffield Health to discuss the challenges women face today and the women that inspired them

Name and Role

Carol Kefford, Clinical Director

Can you tell us about your role at Nuffield Health? 

I am accountable for the quality of clinical care we deliver for our patients across our medical sites. 

Delivering outstanding patient and customer care is a group effort and I am fortunate to work with a fantastic team of people within our Quality and Assurance team, including our Medical Director and Medical Effectiveness & Innovation Director. 

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

International Women’s Day is a day where we can recognise talented women and celebrate their achievements. It is a day to inspire the future generations, both women and men, not to let anything hold them back. 

However, it is not just a day to recognise the big achievements made, but also those on a local level, what someone is doing in their community, for their family or their friends. 

What do you think is the biggest challenge for women today and what has been your biggest challenge?

I think one of the biggest challenges facing women, is this sense that you have to be marvellous all of the time. There has been so much progress made and there are now so many more opportunities for women that a new challenge has been created - this feeling of not being able to stop otherwise you will no longer achieve. However how we determine achievement is so varied.

During my career, I decided to stop nursing and travel. When I made that decision to leave I thought that I wouldn’t be able to come back to my career. I felt that it meant I had got a far as I could professionally and it seemed a big and intimidating step to stop, almost as scary as setting sail because I wasn’t massively experienced.  However, I spent seven years sailing the world and, while a different achievement, it is one I am incredible proud of.

I’m happy to say that this career break didn’t stop my career– I came back the UK, returned to Nuffield Health and stepped back into a leadership role that I love. I am very lucky.

While there is a sense that we need to do it all, we must remember to put achievements into context. Success is not identified by a hierarchy of achievement, it is personal to you. It is important to remember, when surrounded by stories of incredible women doing remarkable things, that it is also the little things in everyday life that make a huge difference and are inspiring in their own way.

Which woman has inspired you and why?

With my nursing background, I of course have to mention Florence Nightingale. She was a statistician, she understood data and was un-phased by the corridors of power. She had an incredible ability to get people in the UK to care about what was happening on the other side of the world. She showed determination and self-belief, she didn’t give up.

She left an incredible legacy.

I would also say, Mary Quant, a fashion designer who changed the establishment in the 1960s, through shortened skirts, changing necklines and simplistic designs. She wasn’t just the designer, she understood marketing and together, with her husband, developed a strategy which took her designs international. 

She had a talent, but it was her character and ability to learn that meant the brand took off and she freed up women in a way other people couldn’t do.

Last updated Saturday 7 March 2020

First published on Saturday 7 March 2020