CJ Kim has been a governor at Kingston Hospital since 2014. We spoke to CJ about his time as a governor.
Q. When were you first elected as a governor?
I was first elected in 2014 to be a governor representing Elmbridge. I have been fortunate to have been elected twice and I am looking to stand for a final term this year.
Q. Do you live locally?
I have lived in Hinchey Wood for 34 years.
Q. Why did you decide to be a governor at Kingston Hospital?
Back in 1994 I had a heart attack and the first hospital I went to was Kingston Hospital and I received such good care there. After my recuperation, I started my volunteer work. I joined the Cardiac Support Group, where I fundraised and visited patients in the hospital. Whilst doing this work, the Volunteer Service Manager suggested that I stand as a governor so that I could be more involved in the hospital. When I found out that I could represent my community at Kingston Hospital, I was immediately taken with the role and what it represented. Also considering the support I had personally received by the hospital, I knew I could bring a lot to the role of governor. As a former headmaster, I do not shy away from my responsibilities and I am used to supporting the local community.
Q. How does your role as a governor support the hospital, patients and members?
Going into my 26th year of volunteering at Kingston Hospital, I continue raising money for Kingston Hospital, for example to help purchase specialist medical equipment for the cardiology department. In 2019 I set up a charity in conjunction with the hospital with an aim of raising funds for new wards in the paediatric oncology and eye units. In 2020, my focus shifted to supporting the hospital during these trying times and I was able to help facilitate a financial donation, along with 1,000 facemasks.
I initiated the Kingston Hospital staff choir as I wanted to boost both patient care and staff morale. At Christmas we held concerts in Outpatients and the Dementia ward and in the latter, patients started singing, remembering words from their childhood. In addition, to try and help with nurse recruitment, I organised student nurse visits to the hospital. I hope to see good nurse recruitment and retainment. In a further bid to boost morale, I chose the winners for ‘Unsung Heroes’ amongst the staff.
I am active in the hospital open and careers days to meet members of the public and exchange views over the daily running of the hospital. I regularly visit wards and have gained the perspective of patients, their visitors and the staff as well. Having been a patient myself, this year my daughter gave birth in the maternity unit. This all enables me to provide valuable feedback to the Council of Governors.
Q. What do you think have been the biggest successes of the hospital over the last few years?
I think that Kingston Hospital has had many successes over the years, which is a credit to the hard-working staff. During the Care Quality Commission inspections, the hospital was rated ‘Outstanding’. We have also seen improvements in both the Dementia and Cancer wards.
Kingston Hospital was visited twice by the Duchess of Cambridge. She visited the maternity ward, which I believe shows that Kingston Hospital has a fantastic facility. The newly decorated wards help with being a calm environment for deliveries, staffed by the best doctors, midwives and other support staff.
However, it is not just these visible displays of success that show that the hospital is going from strength to strength. I find that when I speak to patients and visitors they feel genuinely supported in their time of need by both staff and volunteers and this is one of the biggest successes of Kingston Hospital.
Q: What do you enjoy the most about being a governor?
I find that as a governor I really have a voice to represent my local community. I work under the slogan of ‘putting the patient first’, and I can support both staff and patients in my role whilst giving back to the hospital. I really care about the hospital and those who to use it, as well as those who work there. Above all, the hospital should provide excellent care for its patients and serve the community effectively. I hope to continue to assist in making this a reality.