A team who helped support five refugee nurses as they moved from their home in Lebanon to work for UHDB, have been shortlisted for the Best UK Employer of the Year for Nursing Staff Award in this year’s Nursing Times awards.
The Refugee Nurse Support Programme has been applauded for its efforts in helping Ghada El Ayoub, Ibrahim Al-Ali, Ibrahim Tantory, Salah Hussein and Hamzeh Shridi, who are all from Palestine, transition and start new lives here at UHDB as part of a national scheme spearheaded by NHSE/I.
UHDB is one of 11 trusts in the country to be part of the scheme, with the Palestinian refugees forming the fifth cohort of nurses who made the journey to the UK in March, before completing training so they could start working clinically on wards at Royal Derby Hospital.
Barbara Day, Head of Learning and Education, said the team are thrilled to be shortlisted for the prestigious award.
She said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to be shortlisted for this prestigious award for what is an innovative programme.
“We were invited to join the refugee support programme last year with the support of the chief nurse, the directors of nursing and our people services division. With the amazing team that we’ve got, we’ve been able to make it happen.
“From a moral and ethical perspective, it’s the right thing to do.
“It’s not easy. It’s not easy for the delegates themselves and it’s not easy for the team supporting them, there are so many challenges but it’s been the right thing to do.
“It’s a different country, it’s a different culture and it’s a different work environment and they are coming from extremely challenging circumstances that have gone on for a considerable amount of time so there’s lots of emotional aspects to this.
“But we’re a really positive team with a can-do attitude and we’re absolutely thrilled that it’s been recognised.
“I am incredibly proud, incredibly pleased and thrilled to welcome five new members to the UHDB team.”
Pippa Gardiner, Recruitment Manager said the team has “been on a real journey.”
She said: “When we first were approached about it we did have reservations and we had to offer a lot of support to the nurses.
“But it’s been really positive.
“We’ve changed things as we’ve gone along and we’ve been there for them and that’s the most important thing. It’s lovely to see their ongoing journey.”
Jo Beresford and Holly Anthony are also part of the team and praised the refugee nurses for their contribution during the scheme.
Jo said: “I was honoured to be asked to do this. Meeting them and learning about their culture has been a real eye-opener. I’m so proud of them. They are such lovely polite people and they have worked hard for us whilst having to deal with looking for houses and worrying about their families.
“Everyone thinks we’ve helped them but they have given us so much in return.
“I’m grateful to the Trust for allowing me this opportunity.”
Holly also praised the refugee nurses for how they have settled in at UHDB.
She said: “I think this award shortlist is a credit to them.
“They are resilient and have a wealth of experience from a nursing background to offer and they are so keen to progress and develop. It’s been a real collaboration and to be shortlisted tor this award in recognition of this work is amazing.”
The team will find out if they have won the award for the Best UK Employer of the Year for Nursing Staff Award at the Nursing Times Workforce Awards on 22 November at Hilton London Metropole.