Tegan is a BAME Community Engagement Advisor working for Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust. Her role was funded by NHS Charities Together in its first year. Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Charity saw Tegan’s role as so vital to the Trust they have continued to fund her role into its second year.
My role is essentially to embed inclusive practices across the whole Trust and to ensure that it is a fair and safe place to work for everyone. My role exists to support colleagues from ethnic minority backgrounds who need someone to talk to or who are struggling with their wellbeing.
A large part of my role is to facilitate the ‘Race Equality Networks’, where staff can raise any issues, concerns or ideas on improving how inclusive the Trust is. These networks include staff from across the whole Trust, including members of the leadership team and, consultants, as well as clinical and non-clinical staff.
I also work to help the Trust be as inclusive as possible from the start of someone’s experience of working for the NHS. This includes ensuring that there is a BAME representative on every interview panel and providing training on unconscious bias.
Part of my role also includes walking around the Trust with the aim of recruiting staff to the Race Equality Networks. There are currently around 300 staff members in the networks, but I’m really hoping to increase this number dramatically. I love networking and educating staff about inclusivity and providing a safe space for my colleagues to share their concerns.
One of my favourite aspects of my role, is working with the ‘International Nurses’ who are recruited from abroad and come to the UK to work for the NHS. I support them in both settling into their new job and integrating into the UK in practical ways, such as finding housing. I also signpost them to other networks and charities that may be able to support them. One of the ways that I help the International Nurses is to share specific details about the weather. Instead of saying that the UK is cold, I explain the exact temperatures and give examples the types of clothes it is typical to wear in the UK. I really enjoy this aspect of my work as I am able to directly see how this has positively impacted the International Nurses’ arrival in West Yorkshire.
Another highlight of my role has been helping my colleagues express their religion at work. Prior to my role, my colleagues did not have a dedicated person to speak to about their faith and there was no clear guidance. One of my colleagues asked me about how he could pray during the working day, and as a result, prayer policies have been implemented for all religious faiths across the Trust.
In the future, I would love to expand my role include working with the apprentice teams and schools to promote working in the NHS amongst those who may not have considered it as an option.