12 October 2020

The More Stories We Tell, The More We Move Forward

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"I started off as a support worker to being a Ward Manager at Older People Healthy Ageing Service.

As a young vibrant teenage girl at age of 17, I had wanted to further my education to the University level in Nigeria. The cost of university education in Nigeria was out of reach for my parents. So therefore, my sister and I could not pursue our dreams of becoming University graduates in Nigeria.

I thought my dreams had come to an end until I arrived in the UK. I had worked at various places before moving to work as a health career at a residential care home supporting people with learning disabilities. This is what I wanted all along. After working as a health career for 6 years, I realised that the client group I worked with were developing dementia in addition to the primary diagnosis as they aged. I was determined to explore further the mental health illness.

I did few courses at my local Council NVQ2, 3 and basic IT course. I applied for Nursing at three universities. I sat numeracy and literacy assessment. I was given places at the Universities but decided to go a nearby University (London South Bank University). It was there I began my career as a nurse. I obtained Bachelor Degree in Mental Health Nursing in 2010.

I joined CNWL Trust in 2011 after as a preceptorship Qualified Mental Health Nurse.

Since I began my career with this Trust, my passion for working with older people who have Dementia has increased.

I have been able to develop my career at CNWL and proceeded to obtain Bachelor Degree in Business and Healthcare Management to advance in my career and enhance my skills and knowledge.

I decided to share my stories to enable people to know that if you come across anyone from Black, Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) striving to be useful to the society in life, the community should appreciate the background, cultural clashes and challenges that the person had to undergo to get to where they are. BAME accent in communication could be an impediment. However, every country has accent even the Americans, Australians, Italians, French, Spanish which the community do hear out because they are Caucasians.

However, BAME are not given the kind of opportunity. It takes a lot of effort to be able to communicate eloquently in English as this is BAME second language. The sacrifices (money, energy, determination) we have to make to get to where we are is immeasurable. This should not be taken for granted.

All these barriers add to BAME problems such as mental health issues, statistics shows that BAME group suffer mental health more the Caucasians. A quote from mind ‘A survey from over 14,000 adults by the mental health charity Mind has revealed that existing inequalities in housing, employment, finances and other issues have had a greater impact on the mental health of people from different Black, Asians and Ethnic Minority (BAME) groups than white people during the coronavirus pandemic’.

BAME are majority of frontline workers in our healthcare systems who work unnoticed or unappreciated to get NHS to where it is today. I will say this to my fellow BAME staff; we need to be exemplary to attain our goals. We should be proud of ourselves and seek support when needed.

We should apply for courses and resources that will get you to where you would like to be. Enough of bury our head in our hands, drowning in thoughts and suffer depression. BAME groups needs to show that they can do equally like their counterparts but we must be given the chance to strive. BAME should be able to have difficult conversations even in a hostile environment, appreciate their diversities and work in consistent with trust vales. 

Working with this Trust has been the best thing that has happened to me. 3 Beatrice Place being Nurse Lead Unit is a great challenge as we have no doctor on site. We are dynamic team with staff and patients from different ethnicities and background.

I am proud to be part for this team. It has been a great effort from the team to take the unit to where it is today. Although, we are yet to get there fully as we are still faced with challenges we are still working on but in the whole it has been a great pleasure to be part of the journey of the 3 Beatrice Place and CNWL Trust in a whole.

I will end this by saying a big thank you to the leaders at CNWL who still provide leadership, support and enable staff to grow and develop."