We are the NHS

Aspiring to work and progress within our nursing and midwifery family

In November this year, NHS England and NHS Improvement launched the We are the NHS campaign, an annual recruitment campaign to demonstrate the breadth and variety of career opportunities within our professions, help drive recruitment into our sector and to showcase the incredible work that we do.

Diverse professions like no other

Nursing and midwifery are vibrant and diverse professions, and as such we are passionate about making sure our workforce reflects this. Earlier this year, to mark the first month of the Year of the Nurse and Midwife, NHS England and NHS Improvement led a campaign to challenge gender stereotypes about
men in nursing by supporting the launch of the book, “My Daddy is a Nurse” for primary school children in Birmingham. The campaign aimed to promote gender diversity in our sector.

Nursing mentorship for the next generation

We recognise that opportunities for learning, development and mentoring are fundamental within
our professions, to help support and guide our nursing leaders for the future. Manjit Darby, our former
Director of Nursing Leadership and Quality within the Midlands region played a pivotal role in championing equality and diversity in the workplace as well as inspiring, supporting and mentoring many of our nursing leaders from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds. Manjit
worked passionately to drive improvements in healthcare for our BAME communities.

We were incredibly proud to see her awarded with an MBE and the prestigious Chief Nursing Officer
(CNO) Gold Award in recognition of her exceptional contribution to the NHS over her 36-year career. Manjit retired earlier this year, but despite this still continues to work in healthcare as an interim
Director of Nursing for Northamptonshire Healthcare Foundation Trust.

Taking pride in our professions

As nurses and midwives we operate in complex and diverse care settings but undoubtedly we are all bound by the underlying principals of delivering care and compassion to our patients and taking
immense pride in the work we do.

Heather Johnstone, Director of Nursing and Quality at Stafford and Surrounds CCG has written a poem about how the Covid pandemic has impacted nurses in what should have been a year of celebration to
mark the YONM. Listen to the poem below.


Redeployment of a corporate nurse during Covid

At the start of the national lockdown, there was a call for nurses with intensive care experience to volunteer and join colleagues within intensive care units (ICU) to meet the expected demand.

Becky Bartholomew, Director of Nursing and Quality at NHS Warwickshire North, Coventry and Rugby CCG was deployed as a nurse. This is a personal account of her experience.

Following refresher training for intensive care nurses, I returned to ICU as an additional member of the team for two shifts and then commenced with the team working the full 12.5 hour shifts. The team were incredibly supportive and really helpful. I originally undertook my ICU training in 1988 and now I was working with members of the ICU who hadn’t even been born in 1988! The skills and knowledge quickly
returned though!

The lessons from Italy included nursing patients in a prone position, so lying on their tummy which took four nurses and a senior intensivist doctor about 40 minutes to an hour to prone a patient. One of the moments that will remain with me, is a patient that we were proning, during the process her mask CPAP
(Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) broke. The intensivist had to hold the mask together to maintain
this lady’s oxygenation. We replaced the mask with some difficulty and after an hour-long repositioning, she still managed to say “Thank you.”

The ICU team had an iPad so that family members could talk to and see their loved ones, if their loved ones were able to talk to them. This enabled some vital family contact at this difficult time. If a patient
reached their agreed ceiling of care or we had exhausted every single treatment option and we knew that the inevitable passing of the patient was imminent, we would present the relatives with a handmade
knitted heart donated by members of the public.

The compassionate care demonstrated by all team members most definitely bore out the promise that as you could not be with your loved ones we would hold their hands, we would sit with them and if they passed away, we would cry your tears for you.

A Meaningful Journey

Elizabeth Scott, a mental health nurse and cognitive behavioural therapist from the Black Country Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, has penned her reflections of being a nurse in the poem below.

I started my career at the age of 26 in social care as a HCA in the community,
Learning the ropes about caring for others and showing humanity.

I worked my way up the ranks and became a manager of a private care home,
It was for people who had poor mental health that had no families and was all alone.

I used to manage staff, update policies and procedures, and deal with CQC,
But after six years I knew this really wasn’t for me.

I missed the direct patient contact and making a difference was at my core,
I plucked up the courage to apply for a university course at 34.

A university course that opened the right doors for me,
After four years at university completing a social care diploma and nursing degree.

I passed my degree with first class honours which made me very proud,
“I am finally a Mental Health Nurse” I said out loud.

After experience on adult wards I got a job in the community with children and adolescents,
Lots of therapy sessions, goal-based outcomes and risk assessments,

I went back to university and did a post grad in CBT,
That made me experienced in a therapy modality.

I found the place where I wanted to be,
To help children and adolescents learn to break free.

From poor mental health and social issues,
Helping them develop strategies to cope, talk, cry and providing tissues.

Getting them back into school or facing their fears,
Helping them to finally enjoy these precious years.

Since then I haven’t looked back,
Only with pride about my experience track.

I have been lucky with the opportunities I have had along the way,
I love what I do and am happy to say.

Through hard work and determination,
Nursing is more than a profession it’s my vocation.

I have been supported and worked in great teams,
That helps each other, over the phone and now on live streams.

It’s for the strong minded, determined and kind-hearted,
It’s for the caring, compassionate, funny and asserted.

I am not going to lie,
It can be tiring, draining and sometimes I cry.

It takes a special someone to be a person’s voice,
to have the ability to listen and have the strength to fight,
For your clients wants, needs and what is right.

Nursing is everything about being humanistic,
Also, the ability to listen, over a cuppa and a biscuit.

Don’t forget a sense of humour and the ability to laugh,
You need humour on this hard at times chosen path.

Do a job that fulfils your calling,
And that changes every day and certainly is not boring.

It is that inner urge to help others that are in need,
And the feeling you get for doing a good deed.

Be a person, who makes a difference on earth,
Become a well-respected NURSE.

Moving to the UK to achieve a nursing dream

Rina Rose Amarille-Morales first came to the UK from the Philippines in 2018 to work towards becoming a registered UK nurse. “Dreams small or big are worth achieving” I penned this phrase when
I was in high school. At present, I am slowly reaping the fruits of my labour. My goals and dreams gradually unfolding. My name is Rina Rose Amarille-Morales and I work as a senior nurse in the
Heart Function Service under the Cardiac Rehabilitation Service of Hereford County Hospital, Wye Valley NHS Trust.

I first came to the UK in the winter of January 2018. I had mixed emotions then as I had to leave my family, my partner, my boys aged seven and three, but on the other hand, I was looking forward
to fulfilling my dream of becoming a UK registered nurse (UKRN). The road to become a UKRN is not an easy task. I came from the Philippines and had to pass the IELTS, CBT, interviews, medical exams, and await a decision from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) before I could apply for a visa to
come to the UK. After successfully completing the first stage of my NMC application, I flew to the UK to prepare for the second part, the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE).

I started my career in Hereford County Hospital as a band 3 senior healthcare assistant (HCA) while preparing for my OSCE. I worked in Lugg, a Cardiology ward and became accustomed with the line of work in the hospital. The OSCE was the final hurdle for me to attain my goal of becoming a registered
nurse. Upon acquiring my PIN, my next goal was to bring my family to the UK. I really missed my family so took bank shifts to help support their move to the UK.

I did some bank nursing work which paved the way for me to cross paths with the Cardiac Rehabilitation service. It was fate that I met the team and had grown to love the service they provide for patients. It
was very timely as well as they were in need of a heart function nurse which I subsequently
applied for and luckily was selected for the role. In nine months I rose from a band 5 nurse to
a band 6 senior nurse in Heart Function Service.

Currently, I am loving my job as a heart function nurse. I am very passionate about the work that I do and to the patients under our care. I am very grateful to be working in the Heart Function Service
and try to give back to my patients by providing them with excellent care and efficient management. My next goal is to become a clinical nurse specialist. To my fellow nurses, never stop dreaming and
living out your dreams.

Kevin’s Story

My name is Kevin Fernandez and I am a registered nurse at the Wye Valley NHS Trust and I moved to the UK from the Philippines a year ago. I was very excited to unfold a new chapter in my life right before my eyes, and anxious at the same time about my new job in a new country.

I started to work as a senior healthcare assistant at Wye Valley NHS Trust whilst attending study sessions twice a week, for two months under the trust’s Objective Structured Clinical Examination
(OSCE) programme. The clinical lectures and hands on training I had with Jo Bladen and Helen Farmer, practice educators, honed my nursing knowledge and skills, enabling me to pass my OSCE on my first
take, leading me to earn my NMC PIN a couple of months after I arrived in the UK.

The trust’s support did not end with the programme as I have just finished my 12 month preceptorship, which facilitated me to provide the best quality of care to my patients. If there is one thing that
I couldn’t have prepared myself for before coming to the UK, it was the Covid outbreak. I currently work on the respiratory ward, so when this pandemic started, I was one of those nurses who first donned full PPE.

At first it felt like an obligation for me to help, but as time went on, we saw with our own eyes’ patients
succumbing to death day-after-day. The fear of contracting the virus and protecting our families
back home against it were difficult things that we had to fight until the 100th day when our
ward was declared Covid free.

Those 100 days were the toughest days of my nursing career but it was also rewarding. The people in the UK decided to honour us every Thursday with a clap for carers. I remember the first night, I was working
and the patients clapped right in front of me. I was being praised for something that was just my job.
I have had my share of ups and downs in the past year but the advice I could give to any nurse moving to the UK from another country is to prepare yourself physically, mentally and emotionally, and always
expect the unexpected. Working in a foreign country without your family and close friends will be very difficult, but worth it for every life you save and a bonus for those with wanderlust souls like me.

Alice’s story

Alice Battey is a student midwife in her second year at the University of Worcester. From a young age I have always aspired to be a midwife and knew that there was no other career for me. Being lucky enough to gain experience within maternity before applying to university reinforced my aspiration. Empowering and advocating for women through one of the most life changing times in their life is more than a privilege and I feel honoured every day that I get to be a part of it.

At the beginning of March, it was time to go on delivery suite for my next placement. I spent three
weeks on delivery suite; witnessing and facilitating births whilst being in awe at the strength women
can show. Every single birth I witnessed I just remember feeling so emotional but also honoured
that I was allowed to be a part of that woman’s journey. When the Covid pandemic emerged, all first-year students were deferred from placement to support clinical needs and reduce the spread of the virus.

Our lectures also moved online, but the teaching team still strived to make our sessions fun and
interactive. My cohort received the news that our next placement block on delivery suite which was due to take place at the end of the academic year, had also been deferred due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. However, the midwifery teaching team supported us weekly with online ‘keeping in touch’ sessions enabling us to discuss practice, general concerns or ask questions.

As a result of my placement being deferred, I decided to join NHS Professionals to start working as a
maternity support worker (MSW) at my local trust. This is one of the best decisions I have ever made. Life as a student midwife at the University of Worcester is exactly what I hoped it would be. The midwifery teaching team are so welcoming, friendly and would do anything to help us as students. I
have made friends for life on this course and I am excited about the year; building on my foundation
knowledge of midwifery as we learn more about the complexities of care, obstetric emergencies and
developing my skills further.