From an early age, I remember, that I wanted to work in healthcare, and to help people. I grew up in Zimbabwe and not the capital city Harare. In school, me and my friends would fight over who would have what role when they grew up, vying with the boys to become an ambulance driver! In the small city I grew up in there were very few ambulances and it appeared that being an ambulance driver was so important because of the sirens and how all the other cars allowed the ambulance driver to whiz past them. From the age of 14, I was very clear what she wanted to do and career path was ultimately decided by my person lived experience of mental health. I was a child carer. Outside of work, I’m married, have 3 children and 3 grand-children. I am a dedicated Arsenal supporter and I love reading, traveling, running and walking. I am also is also a trustee for a charity in the West Midlands, Churches Housing Association of Dudley and District (CHADD).
My role is a very interesting and rewarding role. I get to do different things everyday including attendance and participation in meetings via MS Teams and a few face to face meetings. The other part of my role is visiting the different Trust sites, meeting with staff and patients and volunteers. On Friday 17 September 2021, I spent my day at HMP Nottingham with the Healthcare Team. What a fantastic day it was. I met with staff in the morning and then attended the team handover at lunch time. After this the best part of the day came where I was able to spend time with colleagues who were attending to patients in the prison. I was really impressed with the manner in which the staff spoke to the patients and the prison officers – they absolutely demonstrated our Trust values. They were respectful, compassionate and honest. We met patients who were requiring additional support due to deteriorations in their mental health states and the team were supporting these individuals in the prison. There was such joined up working between the physical health care nurses and the mental health nurses to ensure that patient’s needs were assessed holistically and that any interventions were appropriate. I met a patient who was very unwell mentally, had physical health issues and long history of substance misuse. This patient had very positive things to say about Healthcare staff and asked when I would be back to visit him. In the evening I worked with colleagues in the Reception where all prisoners coming into the Prison are offered full healthcare screen including Covid testing. Overall the prisoners were engaging with the process and they were provided with health promotion information/advice as well. There was also the offer to follow up the patients because some of them are tired when they arrive. The team adhered to IPC guidance and I was impressed with the level of touch point cleaning, PPE wearing as well as information provided to patients about Covid 19. Overall it was a really good day and then went back to the office on Monday.
Black History Month is really important to me. It is a celebration of my heritage – something which I am really proud of. It is important to me because my friends, colleagues and other people join in these celebrations and this shows how I am valued and appreciated. We don’t get to celebrate and reflect on those people who inspire us often so its really nice to recognise and celebrate during Black History Month. Who inspires me – my mum. My mother suffers with long enduring mental illness but she lives her life fully and runs her own business. Two other people who have inspired me are – Graca Machel, the former first Lady of Mozambique and widow to the later Nelson Mandela. Some wise words from Graca Machel, ‘Preventing the conflicts of tomorrow means changing the mindset of youth today. We should be respectful but we must also have the courage to stop harmful practices that impoverish, women and their communities.’
Sue Tranka – born in South Africa and she is now the Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) for Wales. Sue is truly inspiration but so humble too. She described her appointment as CNO ‘a bit of a dream come true for a nurse who has come from another country and started out here as a D grade to be in this absolutely privileged position of leading nursing and others.’