Whittington Health Wins National Award for Supporting Overseas Nurses
16 Mar 2022
Deputy chief nurse for England presents Whittington Health with award for supporting overseas nurses
Duncan Burton, the Deputy Chief Nursing Officer for England visited Whittington Health NHS Trust earlier today to meet with some of our nurses who have joined us from overseas. During the visit he presented the NHS Pastoral Care Quality Award which recognises our work in international recruitment and commitment to providing internationally educated nurses and midwives with high-quality pastoral care.
The NHS Pastoral Care Quality Award scheme aims to help standardise the quality of support for internationally educated nurses and midwives across England to ensure they all receive high-quality pastoral care. It’s also an opportunity for trusts to recognise their work in international recruitment and demonstrate their commitment to staff wellbeing both to potential and existing employees.
Whittington Health is the only NHS Trust in London and one of only three trusts in England to achieve the award having taken part in the scheme’s initial pilot. To achieve the award, trusts need to meet a set of standards for best practice pastoral care.
Whittington Health has recruited over 150 nurses and healthcare assistants to work across the Trust since 2018. Each nurse is supported personally and professionally by a dedicated team, established by the Trust’s Director of Workforce, on arrival. They are helped to settle in, acclimatise to London and their local area and begin their career journey in the UK. This includes providing accommodation and provisions and supporting them through their induction programme and their Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) training programme through to their exam, and beyond.
During his visit, Duncan Burton met with a group of nurses who had joined us from overseas, including The Philippines, India and Kenya over breakfast. He chatted to them about their experiences and the support they had received from the Trust.
One of those attending the breakfast was Tisenia Alombro, who grew up and trained in The Philippines before moving to London as part of the very first intake of twenty overseas nurses to join Whittington Health back in 1999. She is still working here as a dementia specialist nurse, one of fifteen who have remained at the Trust since joining us 13 years ago. She said: “It was scary when I first arrived, my father didn’t want me to come to the UK because I was so shy, but it was the best decision I ever made. I started as a Healthcare Assistant and have done several roles including working as a site manager; Whittington Health is so supportive - that is why I am still here.”
Another overseas nurse, Anu Mercy Augustine joined Whittington Health in September 2021 having travelled from India. Her intake was required to undertake hotel quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She is now working in our Intensive Care Unit. She said: “Before we arrived, they explained the quarantine arrangements so I was prepared. They also supplied us with the equipment and information we needed to study for our OSCE exam whilst we were in quarantine, so our time wasn’t wasted. After quarantine was completed the Whittington Health team met us at the airport, helped us navigate our way to our accommodation, provided us with groceries and provisions - anything we wanted, they were there.”
Whittington Health’s Chief Nurse and Director of Allied Health Professionals, Michelle Johnson MBE said: “Our Nurses from overseas are vital to ensuring that we can provide all of our patients with high quality, compassionate and safe care. We want to make sure that they get all of the support and care they need to feel comfortable, settled and confident about their new lives in London so they can also give their best to our patients. I am so grateful to all of our nurses for the care they provide but especially to this group in particular who have chosen to travel the UK to work in our NHS.”
Commenting on his visit, Duncan Burton, Deputy Chief Nursing Officer for England said: “The safe arrival, induction and support for nurses and midwives from overseas as they join the NHS workforce is essential to creating an environment where our international colleagues feel welcomed and able to thrive. Our new Pastoral Care Quality Award rightly recognises the work underway to provide high-quality pastoral care to our international colleagues and I congratulate Whittington Health, and our other inaugural award winners, for the dedicated steps they have taken to ensure overseas nurses have all the support they need to provide patient-centred care.”
We are also actively recruiting to a range of Nursing, Allied Health Professional, Administrative, Clerical and Estates and Facilities roles at a range of levels and as well as recruiting from overseas it is keen to employ people living locally or who are already in the UK. To find a full list of vacancies prospective applicants can visit Jobs.Whittington.nhs.uk.