AFTER her dad nicknamed her “matron" at the age of nine it was a pretty sure bet Yvonne Blucher was destined for a caring career.

At home, Southend Hospital’s new chief nurse is still affectionately known by that childhood nickname, as she explains: “They joke that I walk and talk like a matron, but I just have a passion for doing the right thing.

“I like to work hard but I also like to have fun.

I have high expectations of myself and others. I like to keep things simple but at the same time I encourage people not to just accept data but to go and see for themselves.”

Going to see for herself is something Yvonne, who has joined Southend from Barts Hospital, in London, where she was deputy director of nursing for quality and improvement, is committed to doing.

“My aim is, as a minimum, to be out and about in uniform at least once a week.

“I know by engaging staff you get better outcomes for patients so I want to get out and meet people and work with them.”

It was as a teenage basketball player Yvonne first considered the caring professions. She explored working in rehab for disabled sports people and was advised to train as a nurse first.

She began her career at Basildon Hospital, before later specialising in cardiac care. That took her north to Barnsley, where she was instrumental in setting up first aid centres, equipped with defibrillators at the local coal mines.

Yvonne later worked in the USA and NewZealand, as well as for the Department of Health, on the Essence of Care standards.

Ten years as a director of nursing at Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow, brought her back to the NHS, before she joining Barts after a merger which make it one of the biggest trusts in the country.

Yvonne, who lives in Ramsden Heath with her husband, two daughters and a dog, is also fellow of the Institute of Health Improvement and says she is committed to “doing the right thing first time and every time.”

One of her first tasks as chief nurse at Southend will be to assist in preparing for the hospital’s forthcoming CQC inspection.

She said “This is a chance to shine and share as much, as it is an inspection.

“It’s about doing the right thing, which I know a lot of staff here are passionate about, too.”

In her free time, Yvonne still manages to coach a children’s basketball team and enjoys walking.

She said: “I’m really excited to be here at Southend and am trying to get to meet as many people as I can in these first few weeks.”