My name is Nichole McIntosh and this is my first blog. Although it is quite daunting, I now feel that I have something to share.
I have been a registered nurse for 15 years with experience of working in the acute NHS sector in a range of clinical and management roles in the specialties of clinical research, primary immunology, haematology, oncology, stroke and older people services. I have also previously worked as Assistant Director of Patient Experience Improvement and led the introduction of real-time patient survey systems.
My current role is that of Senior Nurse for Older People and Stroke Services in a large NHS Trust in London. A major component of my role is to ensure that older people and those with a stroke receive a high standard of care and have positive experiences while in hospital.
Throughout my career, I have believed that lifelong learning is key and have achieved academic success by attaining the following: MSc with merit in Social Research Methods and Health Studies, MSc in Nursing Research and Practice Development, BSc(Hon) Public Administration and Health Studies and Diploma of Higher Education (Nursing) and Diploma in Business Administration (Marketing). My passion for learning and studying is partly due to me being the daughter of a retired headteacher (school principal) in Jamaica. I am convinced that I am genetically predisposed to wanting to learn every day and actually enjoying the process! (More on this in a future blog!)
Having reached a milestone birthday this year, I have been re-energised and found renewed motivation to take control of my research journey. To achieve this, I have transferred to the School of Health and Education at Middlesex University in London and have joined their Research Centre for Transcultural Studies in Health which is led by the world renowned Professor Irena Popadopoulos. After meeting with my PhD supervisors, Professor Popadopoulos and Professor Sue Dyson, I instantly realised that this is where I need to be to make a real difference. I am passionate about researching the issues of culturally competent compassion and intercultural communication in hospital. I will be exploring these issues in the older Black Caribbean patient population in East London.
My interest in researching the hospital experiences of older patients of Black Caribbean backgrounds is rooted in my own heritage. I am a first generation immigrant from the island of Jamaica in the Caribbean region. It is hoped that being of Black Caribbean background will enable me to foster trusting relationships with patients of similar background. This would be of paramount importance in gaining access to this group of patients and engaging with them to share their experiences of care in ways that the national patient survey has not been able to achieve. My personal context has also informed my knowledge base and also my awareness of some of the issues facing minority ethnic groups in the UK. Being a nurse researcher not only gives me ease of access to study this group of patients, it gives me privileged access which I do not take lightly. I have a duty to give a voice to those who may feel that their voice will not be listened to.
This week, I was featured in a careers article in the Nursing Standard journal which was aimed at other inexperienced researchers. The article was written some time ago and described how becoming a PhD research student has not only enhanced my career but has proven a life-changing experience. The response has been overwhelming and I hope that others will be encouraged to explore whether they too could get involved in research.
I invite you to walk with me as I go on this journey and share what I will learn about culturally competent compassion and intercultural communication in patients of Black Caribbean backgrounds. I am passionate that all patients should experience care with compassion.
Take care until next time when I have something else to share…
Photo credit: http://www.theorbital.co.uk/new-beginnings/