June 25, 2021, by sbzaj1

30 at 30: Diversity in the NHS

Why diversity is good in the NHS

As an alumni member and international nurse, myself working at NUH for the past 22 years, I feel my story/experience can help attract and invigorate other health care professionals within the NHS. I have enjoyed an international career, initially training in Africa as a Registered General Nurse (RGN) and Midwife before moving to Scotland to work and study. After obtaining the Occupational Health Diploma, I then moved to Australia to work and undertake a Bachelor of Nursing degree. Nursing as a career has allowed me to continue enjoying my professional growth in different healthcare systems across the globe. Since joining NUH I have been involved in innovative projects in collaboration with multidisciplinary teams to transform patient pathways. Good relationships between learning institutions and healthcare providers is paramount in driving evidence-based quality care to improve patient clinical outcomes, patient experience and staff job satisfaction. The drive to recruit international nurses to help with staff shortages in the NHS can have a positive effect on driving forward change and transformation in healthcare. Valuing and acknowledging work done by all staff, including those from ethnic minority backgrounds, goes a long way in staff feeling they belong to the NHS family.

Taking healthcare innovation forward

Since graduating from Nottingham University and winning the Nursing Times Postgraduate learner of the year award in 2016, I have gone on and initiated and led the first Nurse Led Paracentesis (NLP) service at NUH. The service reduced waiting times for patients coming in for paracentesis from five hours to seventeen minutes. Full article can be accessed Chivinge 2016. The introduction of a nurse led paracentesis service provided an opportunity for Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust to:

  • Improved access to service by offering flexibility
  • Significant cost savings with regards to reduced overnight bed stays
  • Improve patient experience and treatment outcome
  • Less fragmented patient pathway
  • Provide continuity of care
  • Freeing up doctors time to be utilised elsewhere

Using different platforms to improve patient’s voice in health care

My current role of Institute Clinical Lead for Shared Governance and Inclusive Leadership enables me to support and sustain shared governance as a leadership model that develops frontline staff to take a lead role in decisions affecting patient care. Shared governance is moving away from the traditional hierarchical management/leadership models to involving direct care staff who are experts on what they do and are in a position to inform and be involved in the change. Involving students in shared governance councils during their placements allows them to partner with their mentors in decision making processes while creating ownership for improvement in practice. This way of doing things is encouraging culture change like we have never seen before and is making a difference in terms of improving patient clinical outcomes, patient experience and staff job satisfaction which, in turn, help with staff retention

Utilising platforms to empower and encourage ethnic minority communities locally, regionally and nationally with a specific focus in research

As a National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) 70@70 Senior Research Nurse I have been championing research within nursing and midwifery groups at the same time increasing capacity and capability building within ethnic minority staff and communities. Having a seat at the national NIHR Incubator strategy group has given me the opportunity to influence and highlight what needs to be done to encourage staff from ethnic minorities to be involved in clinical academic careers. The NIHR Nursing and Midwifery Incubator is a platform that accelerates capacity building and support the development of a skilled clinical academic research workforce across nursing and midwifery professions. Identifying the barriers faced by ethnic minorities such as financial, cultural, immigration, educational, leadership, training opportunities and equality and diversity issues within organisations and discussing with stakeholders will help shape what needs to be done to push this agenda forward.

I always hear colleagues saying ethnic minority communities are hard to reach communities – I do not agree with this concept; it is all about knowing where and how to reach out to these communities.

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the inequalities which we knew existed. The effects of the pandemic on ethnic minority staff and communities caused a lot of anxieties amongst patients and staff colleagues. At NUH we have used BAME shared governance council to reach out to the community and work with the community group members to communicate any concerns. This gave another platform to get feedback from patients and then feed it back straight to the patient experience group. This relationship has facilitated collaborations with Integrated Care System (ICS)

leads enabling NUH ethnic minority staff helping out with the vaccination programmes which has now been extended to community centres and places of worship to encourage uptake from these communities.

This work got me the recognition in the New Year Queen`s Honours List (MBE) for services to patients from ethnic minority backgrounds. The pandemic has taught us all the need to acknowledge differences and be inclusive if we are to take healthcare to another level within the next 30 years.

Aquiline Chivinge MBE

Clinical Lead Shared Governance and Inclusive Leadership

Institute of Care Excellence

Nottingham University Hospital NHS Trust

Posted in 30 Years of Nursing