Walsall’s international Nurses have been praised for their “dedication and commitment” following their first official reunion event.
Professor David Loughton CBE, Group Chief Executive, saluted the efforts of the hundreds of Nurses from countries including Nigeria, the Philippines, Kenya, Ghana and India. They have taken advantage of a recruitment scheme called the Clinical Nursing Fellowship programme to fill permanent roles at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust.
More than 30 international Nurses attended the event held in the Manor Learning and Conference Centre and all were presented with medals and certificates from Professor Loughton and Mayor of Walsall, Chris Towe.
“When I came to Walsall two and a half years ago, it had one of the highest uses of agency Nurses in the country but we have recruited around 400 permanent Nurses and a high proportion of those are international,” said Prof. Loughton.
“It’s a big challenge for people to come here, but the bottom line is at Walsall we have safe staffing levels and patient care has improved enormously.”
Prof. Loughton urged the international Nurses to fulfil their potential by pursuing opportunities to become future healthcare leaders.
“Please seize every opportunity you’re offered – don’t say you’ll do it tomorrow but grab it with both hands,” he added. “I hope you all go from strength to strength at Walsall.”
Lola Omotoso, Matron International Recruitment (Nursing) – known as ‘Mum’ to many of the recruits, added: “To see them grow and flourish is hugely satisfying. The support they give our NHS is phenomenal and this is why it’s so important to celebrate them.”
Four Staff Nurses gave accounts of their experiences – Harmony Owhotake, Chima Chinwe Eunice, and Blessing Obaseemo Elijah – all from Nigeria – and Nathaniel Frimpong from Ghana.
Harmony is now an Infection Prevention and Control Nurse, Blessing works on Ward 3, Chinwe is in the Emergency Department and Nathaniel is on Ward 29.
After arriving in October 2021, Harmony is one of the biggest success stories of the international Nurses at Walsall.
The 29-year-old, who completed a leadership programme in April 2022, was nominated for the Ann Shuttleworth Rising Star Award at the Nursing Times Awards and is now undertaking a Master’s degree in Public Health.
He said: “It was a huge thing to adapt from coming from 42 degree heat in Nigeria, but once I passed my OSCE (clinical exams for international Nurses) it’s been a smoother ride, and the support from my colleagues has been excellent. Over time they have become like family.”
Chinwe told how she was struggling to cope after arriving in October 2021 but then received the support she needed, from Lola.
Videos of appreciation were shown from Ward Managers and there were talks from Claire Flatt, Matron for Pre-Registration Education and Nathalie Harris, Health and Wellbeing Operational Manager.
Advice was available at stands hosted by the Health and Wellbeing Team and HSBC Bank, which supports the international Nurses, while Walsall Healthcare’s charity Well Wishers, which paid for the medals, was represented by Georgie Westley, Fundraising Manager.