Skip to main content

NHS@75... Swansea Bay's Hazel named among Nursing Times' 75 most influential nurses

A picture of Hazel Powell, who has been named in a list of the 75 most influential nurses

A senior member of Swansea Bay’s nursing team has been named among the UK’s 75 most influential nurses in a prestigious list marking this week’s NHS 75th birthday.

Deputy Director of Nursing, Hazel Powell, has been included as one of only two Wales-based staff chosen by the Nursing Times for inclusion in the list of nurses and midwives who have had an especially significant positive impact on the NHS since the organisation’s birth in 1948.

To put that into context, there are currently around 700,000 registered nurses in the UK and the list includes both past and present NHS staff.

Hazel was invited to a special reception for the 75 NHS clinicians at St Thomas’ hospital and church in London last week, which included a tour of Europe’s oldest operating theatre.

She is also the subject of a Nursing Times article, charting her career, achievements and why she’s been selected for inclusion by the famous publication.

“I’m overwhelmed, to be honest. When you think of it as being one of 75… there are so many nurses it could have been for so many amazing reasons,” said Hazel.

“It is lovely; lovely for me and also lovely for us as a health board and to be able to be there in the room as part of the 75, it’s made me feel so delighted.

“The first I heard was from an email. It was a great surprise when that came through and it sank in.

“I think they’ve looked at nurse influencers. They’ve looked for a mix of people like myself, who have been around for a while, and some rising stars, so to speak.

“In terms of how the 75 have been nominated, it’s a mixture of Nursing Times being aware of people, so some of it, I suspect, will be to do with social media and I think the editor, Steve Ford, has probably had a conversation with the chief nurses around the country to identify some of the 75.

“Only myself and Jean White, the former Chief Nursing Officer for Wales, were included on the list from Wales.

“The event in London was thoroughly enjoyable. There was a short presentation from Steve and a film of the achievements of the NHS over the last 75 years, followed by the opportunity to network and celebrate.

Hazell Powell at the Nursing Times NHS@75 reception in London

Pictured: Hazel Powell (right) with fellow guests at the Nursing Times' NHS75 reception in London

“I also visited the Old Operating Theatre and museum, which was a fascinating experience.

“It’s such a privilege to be a nurse but to then be identified in this way. What we’re doing is reflecting the whole of nursing because I can very easily think of another 75 you could pick. So it’s a real privilege.”

Hazel has an impressive CV and puts her success down to being pushed out of her comfort zone and being in the right place at the right time to grab opportunities.

“I think I’ve been really lucky, I’ve loved every job I’ve ever done. I’ve had quite a broad career,” she added.

“My background is as a mental health nurse and a learning disability nurse.

“I’ve worked in Scotland, as well as Wales, having started out in Scotland working both in wards - I was a ward manager - but also as a community nurse.

“I was an educator for a number of years, working and teaching on undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in university for mental health and learning disability nursing.

“I had a secondment to Scottish Government as policy advisor for learning disability. That was probably my first big national piece of work. I was working across the UK for all the CNOs to undertake a review of learning disability nursing.

“That led to a publication called Strengthen the Commitment and subsequently Living the Commitment. On the back of that, I went to my first director post at NHS Education for Scotland, which is similar to our HEIW (Health Education and Improvement Wales).

“So I’ve had a really diverse career with lots of opportunities and I think at that point, I started to feel I wanted to be a bit closer to practice.

“I started looking for an associate director of nursing post and that’s what brought me to Wales. Initially, I was director of nursing for mental health and learning disability here and then I picked up bits of national work and that led 

to a secondment to Welsh Government as Nursing Officer, providing senior professional nursing advice to Ministers as part of the Chief Nurse’s Office.

“I came into my current role in March last year. I think I’ve been really lucky. I’ve had lots of different roles in education, practice education and policy, plus leadership roles.

“I’ve enjoyed all of them and feel I’ve been able to make a difference.”

Hazel is now heavily involved in helping to shape the health board’s workforce transformation in nursing. She is keen to offer some words of wisdom for anyone looking to get started in the profession, or looking to take the next step.

“My advice to young people getting into the profession is there are so many opportunities for them and to be confident that you don’t have to stay in the role you start out in,” she added.

“I’ve never had a career plan as such, but as opportunities have come up, I’ve taken them. So I’d say to people be bold, be clear about what matters to you and what drives you.

“We’ve had a few years of really managing in very difficult circumstances but nurses always keep the person, and their family, at the centre. That’s what it is all about.

“Being a nurse is such a privilege and it’s also fantastic if I can help some of the new generation to make the most of their opportunities.”

Rydym yn croesawu gohebiaeth a galwadau ffôn yn y Gymraeg neu'r Saesneg. Atebir gohebiaeth Gymraeg yn y Gymraeg, ac ni fydd hyn yn arwain at oedi. Mae’r dudalen hon ar gael yn Gymraeg drwy bwyso’r botwm ar y dde ar frig y dudalen.

We welcome correspondence and telephone calls in Welsh or English. Welsh language correspondence will be replied to in Welsh, and this will not lead to a delay. This page is available in Welsh by clicking ‘Cymraeg’ at the top right of this page.