Walsall Healthcare’s international nurses have attended a welcome event hosted by its BAME Shared Decision Making Council and Well Wishers charity.
Yesterday’s event saw the launch of a new buddy scheme whereby existing clinical and non-clinical staff can step up to support some of the 267 nurses who are taking up roles at Walsall Manor Hospital by the end of this year.
Interim Chief Executive Professor David Loughton CBE, Director of Nursing Lisa Carroll and Director of People & Culture Catherine Griffiths attended and supported BAME Council Chair Joan Dyer in giving nurses introductions and explaining how the buddy scheme would work.
All buddy volunteers and international nurses then interacted with each other and swapped their details. The buddies offered support, advice or even just the chance to chat. The BAME Council will run similar events for the remaining nurses joining the organisation as well as regular, monthly sessions as part of the ongoing support available.
Around 25 buddies have volunteered so far and include the following:
Michael Agboeze, Staff Nurse on Ward 7, arrived from Nigeria in March, working at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust before transferring to Walsall in June. The 33-year-old father-of-one, who will be joined here by his family next March, was himself assigned a buddy but he still found the new experience challenging, leaving him determined to help others make the transition.
Michael said: “Being new in the UK was not easy. I experienced a lot of shock – the different culture, weather and food.
“So I tried to find out things for myself. I bought a bicycle, which has helped tremendously in allowing me to know Wolverhampton and Walsall.
“I was taught how to use Google Maps to navigate my way, find a bus and train. I have actually learnt a lot when it comes to knowing local routes.
“As for the weather, culture and food, I didn’t find it too difficult to adapt and I learned ways to help others adapt quickly that I can pass on. I will ensure to provide the right information to the person I buddy.”
Owen Nyakudya, a Transition to Fatherhood Support Worker, said: “As Chair of the Staff Inclusion Network I feel it is my duty to extend a welcome hand to our new colleagues and make them feel at home.
“Some of them probably have no family or friends in the UK and transitioning to a new country, new culture and new workplace can be very challenging for anyone.
“As a buddy I can befriend the ones am buddied up with, offer advice to them on things they may struggle with. They need to know they not alone; we could go out to watch movies or eat or just hang out while they acclimatise and make their own friends.”
Georgie Westley, Fundraising and Engagement Manager, and a member of the BAME Shared Decision Making Council, felt she was in an ideal position to help out.
She said: “I’ve lived locally all my life, have a fairly good knowledge of the area but am also lucky through family to have a lot of contacts with local churches, support organisations and people who can point me in the right direction.
“I felt either personally or through my contacts I could support and make a fellow colleague settle into the community and call this their home.”