IWD 2021: Karen Ceesay

Karen Ceesay – Head of Workforce Transformation at Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Karen Ceesay is Head of Workforce Transformation and has worked at Nottinghamshire Healthcare for six years. She talks about her involvement in the vaccination programme and how she felt extremely privileged and proud to be part of a programme which was so monumental on a global and national scale.

How have you been supporting the Covid-19 response and vaccination programme?
“I have been involved in the Trust’s Covid-19 response since March 2020 when I led on the development and management of the Trust’s staff testing offer.

“Having been on the Covid-19 journey from the beginning I had gained significant insight into the needs of our organisation, our patients, and our workforce and subsequently my move into the vaccination programme was a natural extension to this role.

“Whilst my role varies from day to day it primarily involves the development and delivery of a Nottinghamshire Healthcare vaccination programme which consists of two main elements: the vaccination of our workforce and the administration of vaccinations to our patient population.

“The first vaccinations within Nottinghamshire took place on the 8 December 2020 at two Hospital Hubs. As the Hospital Hub continued to thrive, my role was initially focused on ensuring that Trust staff were able to access vaccination appointments by working within national guidance and targeting staff identified as falling into priority groups. I’m now also part of the team leading on the vaccination of our patient population.

“There have been a lot of challenges along the way, but these have arisen mainly from the pace of change, scale, urgency, and complexity of the vaccination programme.”

What have you enjoyed most about being involved in the vaccination programme?
“The vaccination programme is a true example of teamwork. We all took on distinct but equally important roles and responsibilities and, as the programme gained pace, my role was to develop trusted relationships with those working across the system.

“I felt extremely privileged and proud to be part of a programme which was so monumental on a global and national scale. But, more importantly, I’ve felt a sense of responsibility to ensure that I developed a programme which allowed our staff and patients to access Covid-19 vaccinations in a timely and safe manner.

How has the vaccination programme inspired you?
“I have found the whole vaccination programme inspiring.  I have so much respect of the commitment made by so many individuals; whether that be those giving up their free time to work in a vaccination centre, those being redeployed into vaccination roles or those working over and above in their ‘day job’ to vaccinate our patients.

“However, I am not only inspired by those supporting the vaccination programme.  I have felt a great deal of admiration for the way our local population have responded to the vaccination programme.  I witnessed this first-hand when waiting outside the King’s Mill Hospital Hub in January alongside a member of my family in cohort 2.  It was clear that this wasn’t just a vaccination for the majority of individuals attending the site, this was the start of a process which would make them safe again and give them back their freedom. These individuals were brave, and, at this point, the sheer magnitude of the vaccination programme became apparent and I knew that I was privileged to be part of it.

“This programme has also demonstrated the true value of system working across all sectors of the Integrated Care System (ICS) and has paved the way for a new model of working post-Covid-19.”