This is the next in the summer blog series of Reflections of a Trailblazer.
Check out my blog The Human Touch ❤✍🏽 for the previous posts so you don't miss out on my journey. I've previously discussed my PhD journey and my career inspirations.
This post will include the importance of using unpleasant life experiences to motivate yourself as well as build confidence and resilience.
Two weeks into my new role as Assistant Director of Nursing, I'm in a pensive mood. Thoughts of my early years and the journey to get to this stage of my career keep flooding my mind. I'm humbled that I've been given this opportunity to serve, lead and inspire and I'm not going to waste it or take it for granted.
I have a style of leading that is transformational and does not always fit what some people may expect. It's this innovative, collaborative and imaginative approach that makes me such a passionate advocate for equality, diversity and inclusion and why I feel fulfilled when I make a positive impact on patients and staff experiences of hospital care. I tick several of the protected characteristics of the Equality Act. Many others tick more than I do, however I consciously choose to use my presence and my voice to ensure that I challenge stereotypical ideas, assumptions and behaviours. I'm happy to agitate and disturb the status quo. I ask why not?, not why?
Someone asked, "how does it feel to be out of uniform?" I replied that I try to wear my uniform as often as I can to remind me of why I became a nurse and give me a sense of belonging to the nursing family. I accept that you don't really need a uniform to feel like you belong, however it helps to keep me grounded about why I do what I do – for patients. It also helps to send the outward message to other staff, patients and relatives that I'm proud to be a nurse. Forget the job title, I'm a nurse…a compassionate nurse!❤
Recently, I tweeted …
It cracks me up every time I tell the story. I'll make a good nurse one day…#today!😊
A life changing career moment for me was when just last year, a Director of Nursing said to me that although I had been on a secondment and my job was no longer available to return to that I should go and see if there was another job somewhere else in the Trust. The salt in the wound was when she added, "I have asked around and there is none, however you should ask as well and see if there is anything." Feeling insulted, I thought to myself, "you cannot be seriously asking me to beg for a job when I have worked and studied for 16 years?" In my own dignified and stoic manner, I went home and logged onto NHS Jobs website and spotted a vacancy that grabbed my attention. It was for a Head of Nursing post at a NHS Trust in North London. The rest, as they say, is history. The moral of the story is never let someone's view of your value determine your self-worth.
I use my experiences to motivate others who approach me with similar or even worse experiences of being of a black or minority ethnic background in the NHS. It remains a challenge to 'breakthrough'. Now there's a term that I resent. Why would I need to 'breakthrough'? Why shouldn't I and others like me expect to be promoted on merit and on the evidence that I meet or even exceed the criteria for the post?
We should all share our journey to inspire, motivate and support others as they too journey on. Sharing is caring and it's cathartic too! Releasing yourself from unpleasant experiences builds even more resilience and resilience is key to success.
No one said it would be easy, just that it would be worth it. I'm worth it. You're worth it too.
Thank you for taking the time to read my post and hope you'll share your thoughts and journeys too. Let's lift as we rise! ❤💚💛