Diversity and Inclusion Partner (Operations and Strategy)
Where are you based?
At our Southampton offices
Is your role clinical or non-clinical?
Tell us about your job
I work alongside a team of incredibly passionate and talented social justice colleagues to advance equality, diversity and inclusion matters within our organisation.
This invariably entails identifying and utilising a range of platforms and tools to normalise, sometimes difficult, conversations around discrimination, bias and privilege, with a view to enabling everyone to be their true self in the work environment.
One of my key roles is working with our staff networks to raise their collective voice in highlighting challenges people with protected characteristics are facing and in turn work with our senior leaders to find solutions.
As a team we feel privileged to do what we are doing – thanks in a big way to the unflinching support from our Executive Team and Trust Board. They are unapologetic about creating an organisation where everyone feels at home – and our patients are taken care respectfully and sensitively at whatever point of contact they have with the organisation.
Why did you decide to join the NHS?
I joined the NHS after initially taking on some temporary work in 2004 (as a healthcare support worker) while I was doing some full-time post graduate studies. This work immediately struck a chord with me, as I was exposed to some excellent and life changing services provided by NHS staff. I have not looked back since – albeit my career trajectory has since taken me away from frontline services.
How did you join the NHS?
A family friend who was already working in the NHS suggested that I give an advertised healthcare support worker’s role a try. At the time, I had been doing odd agency jobs – mainly in the industrial sector – but that work was invariably back-breaking and not entirely conducive to my demanding university studies. Importantly, it wasn’t work that was giving me any job satisfaction, only helping pay bills.
My application to join the NHS was relatively straight forward back then. I phoned for an application form, got it within a couple of days in the post, sent back and after a very friendly interview process, was offered a contract within a few weeks – subject to completion of the necessary checks, of course.
What’s your day to day like?
I wish I could say all days are the same, but I really can’t – and that’s probably why I have stayed this long in the NHS. One day, I could start with joining a meeting to discuss a forthcoming event, such as our Disability History Month conference, then move to a session with our Child and Family Service leadership team about our Equality Delivery System before having an email conversation with our Chief People Officer on how we can promote, even further, our staff networks.
That’s all before lunchtime!
I may then have a scheduled catch up call with a colleague who works in the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care System to see how plans for Black History Month are progressing. In the meantime, I have a request from our Communications Team asking if I will take part in a video shoot for the Annual General Meeting, to talk about our six staff networks.
The next day, I could be in an NHS England/Improvement-led training programme on ‘Supporting you to build influence, confidence and impact’, where in addition to gaining and honing skills, always provides opportunities to network and learn from others.
Like I said, no day is ever the same so there’s zero chances of getting bored or complacent!
What are some challenges?
Time is the biggest challenge! There’s never enough time in the day to do everything I would want to do. I am grateful, though, that I work in a very supportive team – with a manager who ‘gets it’ – which is a huge help as this removes additional pressure.
What do you love about your job?
Meeting and hearing from colleagues who are noticing the changes we are making within the organisation, for example, around normalising discrimination conversations that may once have been deemed too sensitive and uncomfortable.
What’s your top tip for developing a career in the NHS?
There are a lot of career pathways in the NHS. Find one that really plays to your strengths, passion and interests and you will not go wrong. If I were to give a specific tip: Get yourself a coach or mentor at your earliest opportunity!
What would you say to a young person thinking of joining the NHS?
If you are looking for a job that gives you great satisfaction and security, join the hundreds of thousands who are impacting millions every day. Join the NHS.