A Royal Derby Hospital nurse has spoken about sharing her lived experiences of working in the NHS as a black woman to UHDB’s Chief Executive – as part of her role as his mentor in a new Trust initiative.
Members of UHDB’s Board have been matched with colleagues from underrepresented groups – including the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) and LGBTQIA+ community – since the start of the year as part of our Reciprocal Mentoring programme.
Providing leaders with this first-hand education about some of the disadvantages people can face at work because of their race, sexuality, gender, or disability is a key part of the Trust’s commitment to making UHDB a more inclusive place to work.
Senior Nurse Mwansa Mulenga has taken on the role of CEO Gavin Boyle’s mentor as part of the programme, with the two meeting regularly over the last year to speak about their personal journeys in the NHS and the challenges people can face because of their race.
As we celebrate the final week of Black History Month, Mwansa, who is also the co-chair of the Trust’s BAME Network, has spoken about the importance of educating one another through these staff groups and initiatives like Reciprocal Mentoring.
She said: “Sharing my lived experiences with Gavin and being able to talk about some of the challenges which people face because of their race has been incredible. Terms like ‘white privilege’, ‘glass ceiling’ and ‘role modelling’ to any other person would not mean much, however when we had our meetings, we were able to discuss these things in detail.
“We have not come to the end of the programme yet, but it has been fantastic to be a mentor and actually have someone walk in your shoes and listen to what you have been talking about. I would strongly urge people to join this programme, as it gives you time to reflect through your experiences and, in my case, has strengthened me to make a difference to someone out there.”
The Trust is committed to creating an inclusive culture across UHDB, and so made the decision to set up the Reciprocal Mentoring programme and relaunch the BAME, LGBTQIA+, Gender, ThisAbility and Carers Network groups, among others, earlier this year.
Speaking about Mwansa’s role as his mentor, CEO Gavin Boyle said: “Trying to make UHDB a more inclusive place for our diverse workforce is something very close to my heart. We hope that reciprocal mentoring will help our Executives and other senior leaders develop a deeper understanding of the lived experiences of colleagues who may have suffered discrimination and disadvantage at work, based on their race, religion, sexual orientation, and other reasons.
“It’s a privilege to have Mwansa as my mentor. This is a really important programme, which we hope will help us towards our goal of creating an inclusive culture where everyone at UHDB can be themselves and where difference is valued. I’ve really enjoyed my regular chats with Mwansa as part of the initiative. I continue to be inspired by the commitment of all of our staff networks who are helping us to make UHDB the best place to work.”