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Lancashire nurses win RCN outstanding contribution award during Black History Month celebrations

Two colleagues have won a Royal College of Nursing award to mark their outstanding contribution to the equality, diversity and inclusion agenda and the experience of BAME service users and staff across the health and social care sector.

Anu Thomas and Deepsi Khatiwada, who are both nurses at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals have been recognised at the awards which form part of the RCN North West’s annual event to recognise and celebrate the outstanding contribution of nursing staff from BAME backgrounds who work in health and social care across the region.

This year’s theme is ‘Anti-Racism: A Time for Literacy and Transformation’ and took place virtually on Wednesday. The event aimed to give delegates a better understanding of anti-racism and why literacy is important. It wanted to give them the ability to describe what might need to change in their organisations and the confidence to approach conversations.

Deepsi, a research nurse, participated and won an award within the Florence Nightingale Foundation Windrush and BAME leadership programme in 2020. She led an improvement project to widen participation from ethnic minority communities in research looking at both staff and patient perspectives. The results of this project demonstrated that there is a clear need for some interventions communication wise to help promote the uptake and promotion of ethnic minority patients in research.

As a result of this work Deepsi has now been awarded funding for two days per week to advance this work further in partnership with the National Institute for Health Research, local authority, primary and secondary care. 

Nursing, Midwifery & AHP Director Sarah Cullen said.

“She then used her experience to work with me to promote ethnic minority leadership development and subsequently co-designed a new organisational wide ethnic minority leadership programme called Inclusive Leadership at Lancs which enrolled 40 BAME leaders.

“Deepsi is an inspiration to me as she is a fine example of why this recognition and work is so important.”

Anu, a consultant nurse, is the Executive Nurse for the British Indian Nurse Association, which aims to provide a national support service and network for nurses from India in the UK. Anu has worked tirelessly this year to develop the organisation nationally, planning a launch with national leaders including Ruth May, CNO England and creating a change within the organisation to develop international recruitment support circles and strengthening the way pastoral support is delivered to new international recruits. 

In addition to this, through sharing her experiences, she has promoted an anti racist culture in the organisation. She continues to promote positivity the work and rights of nurses from international countries with a particular focus on those who English is not their first language. Anu frequently goes the extra mile to support colleagues, working in partnership with Nursing, Midwifery and AHP Director and the Chief Executive to anticipate the needs of BAME colleagues specifically in the last 6 months whilst managing the impact of Covid on her own family and friends in India, she has continued to advocate and support colleagues at all levels of the organisation.

Sarah added: “Anu is an amazing person, nurse and leader. She is working, locally, regionally and nationally and deserves the recognition for the work to change cultures.”

Congratulations to you both

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