The NHS Refugee Nurse Support Pilot Programme which supports refugees who are qualified as nurses in their home country to resume their nursing careers in the NHS in England is celebrating welcoming a fourth cohort of nurses to organisations across the North West.
In the North West refugee nurses from this most recent cohort have today taken up positions at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS FT
Steven Colfar, Director of Nursing and AHP Workforce for the North West at NHS England and NHS Improvement, and lead for the programme, said: “The refugee support programme is a crucial element in our approach to ethical recruitment.
“The NHS is supported by recruiting some exceptional skilled nurses who use their own lived experiences to deliver compassionate patient care. In turn we have the privilege to support them not just with a new job, but an opportunity for a new life.”
“These are our first Middle Eastern nurses currently undergoing two week’s induction before being deployed onto our wards where their skills and experience in ICU, medical, respiratory and surgical oncology will be of immediate and valued use.
“Following their OSCE examinations in around six months’ time they will take their places as fully qualified nurses.”
Sana, a 24-year-old Palestinian, born and raised in Lebanon, who is joining Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS FT as a senior healthcare assistant, said: “I am a little bit scared as it is an intensive course to get me up to speed with how the hospital does things. It is such a different culture and it’s a challenge but one that I am ready for.
“It means I will be able to work as a nurse and help people and that was not possible where I come from.
“It’s a new life, a new way of working and a lovely place to start a new life. Who knows what the future holds, but I have a future now, and that is all that matters, a future as a nurse, in Lancashire”
Imad, a 37-year-old Palestinian, born and raised in Lebanon, and joining Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS FT as a senior healthcare assistant, said: “It is very emotional for me, having left my family and three children in the Lebanon. I am missing them so much, but I know they are proud of me for giving them a future.
“I want to qualify quickly and progress my career in nursing, it is my life my passion, after my family. I am so proud that my children will have an education, will live free, will live in a democracy
“They will grow up in Great Britain, that is incredible and worth the sadness and emotional mess I feel at times. For them to say they are proud of me, means the world to me.
Dima, a 33-year-old Sudanese, who was living in Jordan, and will be joining Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS FT as a senior healthcare assistant, said: “This is my opportunity to work and be recognised as a nurse. “I want to do some good for people at a time when they need help.
“I have always dreamed of becoming a proper nurse, and there is nothing better than the feeling of that dream coming true. So many people have helped me to get here. They have no idea how much their kindness means to me.”
Rabei, a 35-year-old Palestinian, born and raised in Lebanon, and joining Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS FT as a senior healthcare assistant, said: “I have a three year old child and I am so proud to know we will grow up as a family in Great Britain.
“This job will give me dignity, human rights, an education, opportunities to train and learn more and a future for my family.
“I cannot believe it, I have a career, I have a life, I have a future. I can study and become better and better in my nursing career and I can give back to those who have helped me, by nursing the sick here in the hospital.”
The programme offers intensive languages skills support and a bespoke four-week course designed by LJMU to help participants prepare to return to nursing and work in the NHS.
Participants are supported to secure NHS employment, initially in healthcare support worker roles, which they take up following the course and while they complete the necessary English Language assessments and NMC processes with the aim to become registered nurses in England.