May feedback: everyday heroes

09 May 2019

Why giving children an insight into your career can prove so invaluable, and the reasons entering awards can be beyond beneficial...


It works both ways

As a health visitor and programme manager at Cardiff University’s School of Healthcare Sciences, it’s always a great pleasure to visit one of our local community’s primary schools. It is important to me both professionally and personally to maintain strong links within local communities and engage with them on different levels to promote health and wellbeing and facilitate learning. As all HVs know, opportunities to target this in the early years are most beneficial.

Over the last few years, I have been invited by the staff at Lliswerry Primary School in Newport, South Wales, to meet with all the children in Year 1 and talk to them about the role of the HV. Every year, the children explore and learn about the roles of ‘everyday heroes’ but of course it’s not every day that HVs are recognised as ‘heroes’, so this is always a lovely experience as the children and staff are very welcoming.

I feel very privileged to meet and talk with the children, who are always very attentive, enthusiastic, keen and engaging. I have become more familiar with teaching adult learners about the role of the HV, so it’s always a delight to spend time with the children and teach them about the HV’s role in a way they can understand. The children, who are aged between five and six, continually amaze me by how much they already know about the role, which is incredible at this age.

We talked about how HVs help parents with caring for their babies, with breastfeeding, crying, keeping babies safe and helping them to grow healthily and happily. The children enjoyed exploring some of the equipment that HVs use, so we set up a baby clinic using a doll, and children learned about weighing and measuring babies. They loved getting involved, taking turns and writing in the ‘red book’. This kinaesthetic experiential learning is always popular with children.

At the end, the children took turns to ask me questions, and at the same time I was able to evaluate their learning. My visit was successful in facilitating learning, and most of all it was enjoyable. These opportunities always give me a great sense of job satisfaction by connecting with communities and working with children again. On the day, the children were the heroes – they were an absolute delight, a credit to their parents and the school. I’m looking forward to my next visit already.

I know the role of the HV is very demanding, but if you can find some time to do something similar I can assure you it will make your day. #lovehealthvisiting

Amanda Holland
Lecturer and SCPHN programme manager, School of Healthcare Sciences, Cardiff University

Work to be done

The NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) aims to ensure employees from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds have equal access to career opportunities and fair treatment.

BME leadership in nursing is showing early signs of improvement, but only 3.5% of NHS provider chief nurses come from BME backgrounds, compared with 20.5% of the entire nursing, midwifery and health visitor workforce.

A review from the WRES team published in March outlines the current status on improving BME progression into senior nursing, midwifery and health visitor positions across the NHS. It also looks at the next steps to support organisations to make improvements and to deliver the 2028 commitment of ensuring the leadership of organisations is representative of the BME workforce.

Find the review at bit.ly/WRES_review

Health awards - why they work

Saeideh Saeidi explains how applying for and winning a Mary Seacole award has helped her move forward on a number of levels.

It was a wonderful surprise and a joy to receive the Mary Seacole Development Award. The award has given me many benefits, both personally and professionally. 

First of all, it has provided me with the opportunity to explore my organisation’s cross-cultural strengths and weaknesses. The data for baseline assessment was collected through an online survey and a scoping exercise. An action plan was developed, based on the findings, to promote greater cultural competence across the trust. Senior leaders in the organisation are supportive of the action plan. 

Cultural competence is a system-wide approach that incorporates individual and organisational competencies. Individual competency is about having the ability to understand, appreciate and interact with people from cultures and/or belief systems other than one’s own. Organisational competency is about development of culturally safe physical and linguistic environments, meaningful data collection, diverse workforce and leadership, service delivery systems that are flexible and adaptable, and policies, procedures and strategies that have incorporation of cultural diversity as a central tenet. 

Cultural competence offers a framework through which to improve services for patients from culturally diverse backgrounds, values, beliefs and behaviours to ensure better outcomes and experiences.

The award also gave me valuable professional development opportunities, including meetings with Chris Ham (then CEO of The King’s Fund), Jane Cummings (then chief nursing officer for England) and Jackie Doyle-Price (parliamentary under secretary of state for mental health, inequalities and suicide prevention).

Next steps are to focus on dissemination of the findings and validation of a questionnaire I designed to measure cultural competence. 

My sincere thanks to the funders of the Mary Seacole Awards and the members of the steering committee.

Saeideh Saeidi
Head of clinical effectiveness, Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

It could be you!

There is still some time this month to apply to the Mary Seacole Awards 2019-20. Funded by Health Education England, the awards provide the chance for individuals to be recognised for their outstanding work in the black and minority ethnic community.

Individual health visitors, nurses and midwives in England can apply. So if this sounds like you and you would like to advance your career and personal development, the deadline for entries is 24 May 2019.

To apply and for details, see nhsemployers.org/maryseacole

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