My NHS story - Emma Symonds

People have shared their wonderful memories of the NHS over the last 75 years to help celebrate the NHS's 75th Birthday

Emma shares their NHS memories

Emma talks about her work in HR.


When did you start?

I joined the NHS in September 2019, so I'm still fairly new. My introduction to the NHS was at Yeovil District Hospital (YDH) as a HR Advisor. I had been working in adult social care, as a business development manager with a focus on employee welfare. I had only just completed my HR management degree but knew where I wanted to be, so I pulled my big girl pants up and took the leap. I can’t tell you how excited I was to secure my first official HR role with such a lovely team.


Why did you choose to work in the NHS?

My story begins back in 2010, when my son Benjamin was born. He was a little early and the midwifes suspected he had a slight heart murmur, unfortunately it turned out he had a congenital heart defect called Truncus Arteriosus Type 2, which essentially meant his heart was broken. Benjamin and I lived in Bristol PICU for 7 months before his little body couldn’t take any more.

Everyday I spent in the unit I spoke with nurses, doctors, consultants, domestic staff, receptionists and every single one treated me and Benjamín like we were the only people they had to care for. As time went on and I was able to become involved in his care, I became closer to his key care team. I learnt about their lives, families, shifts, struggles and accomplishment. I remember thinking back then “I need to give back” and when so many of them turned up at Benjamin’s service to say goodbye, I knew then that I had to be involved in supporting and improving their experiences at work.


What do you do and what do you enjoy most about your role?

I started as a HR Advisor in YDH but my ultimate goal was to work in the world of Inclusion, so I worked really hard to prove my worth and build my knowledge. I secured a role as YDH's First EDI Lead role, which I was incredibly proud of.

Over the years, I have now found myself at NHS Somerset as Inclusion Manager. My role is about staff experience and wellbeing. I am the voice in the room which often asks “ but what about?" And "Have you thought about?…."

My work is wrapped up in the Equality Act 2010 | Equality and Human Rights Commission ( - which I call my bread and butter - and is about considering people from protected characteristics such as race, age, gender, religion, and sexual orientation.

My absolutely favourite thing about my job is the light bulb moment. Spending time with someone, or a group of people and they have a moment of clarity or recognition which leads to a positive change. I truly believe it’s the light bulb moments that will help us make a enable us to build  a compassionate culture and improve staff experience.


What would you tell someone now who was thinking about a career in the NHS?

I’m non clinical and I often think of my job as a supportive role. I have had the privilege of working with so many other people in supportive roles, who make a change every day and I believe we provide a vital role.

I'd encourage anyone to seek out a role in the NHS as there are so many options and opportunities. Who knows, you could start collecting your own light bulb moments. I guarantee you will be hooked on the feeling of joy it brings.


Describe the NHS in one word?




Read more stories

Read more memories of the NHS over the last 75 years from people in Somerset.

Share your own memories of the NHS with us.