Black History Month: #WeCareTogether staff stories
Black History Month: #WeCareTogether staff stories
To celebrate Black History Month 2020, we’re highlighting the careers stories and experiences of some of our Black colleagues. Below are a few of the NCH&C staff stories that have been shared on the We Care Together Instagram feed.
#WeCareTogether is a campaign created by The Norfolk and Waveney (N&W) Health and Care Partnership to document the remarkable dedication and commitment demonstrated each day by our Health and Social Care colleagues during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. Keep reading to find out how our colleagues Bibian, Olufemi, and Abraham have found the experience of working during the pandemic.
Bibian Nkechinyere Anibueze, Infection Control and Prevention Nurse
I joined the Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) team in the end of March this year, so I’m quite new: my team said that joining the team at this time is a baptism of fire! So, since I have joined the team it has been COVID-19 all through. Since I have only just joined the team, there has been a lot of learning on the job. I have had to learn it and learn it quick, but the challenge has been a great experience!
The atmosphere has been fantastic, everyone has been really lovely to me and so welcoming and supportive: a good, positive team all round.
The hardest thing that I’ve had to do is calling a staff member to let them know that they have got positive test for COVID. It is very hard because some patients feel very scared about having COVID. You don’t know how people will react when you tell them that news because, understandably, they don’t know what the future holds.
I’ve been a nurse now for more than 30 years and I’ve had to discuss death with other patients and their families in the past but that is different to the conversations with COVID. This is a new virus and it has people unaware, so it is a shock for them. Liaising with my senior colleagues has given me all the support needed to get through this.
Working for the IPAC team during the pandemic has been an amazing experience: this is history in the making and I was involved in the swabbing of staff and patients, giving them results, supporting staff, going to the wards and the care homes and teaching them the right things to do so that they say safe. We will go down in history as being a part of the Infection Control team who dealt with this pandemic and who were able to support staff and patients.
Olufemi Onipede, IT Desktop Engineer
I’m a Desktop Engineer with the NCH&C for the past three years. We support clinicians, office staff, administrators and other colleagues to ensure that their laptops and IT are working well enough to support their daily activities. I do things like software installation, repairs, support, and resolving any technical issues, and I work at different sites all over Norfolk for NCH&C.
COVID has meant that many more people than usual are working from home, but IT often still needs to come on-site to work, making sure we take additional safety measures. We wash our hands more, and clean devices before we work on them. However, I think that the working from home brings some positives. People like this more flexible working as it gives them more time for themselves. More people working from home is also good for the environment as it means less pollution. Without IT, NCH&C couldn’t have the effective service and communication needed for remote working. There are challenges, but we’ll keep coming in to do our job. Infection control are doing a great job at helping us to stay safe.
When I heard that BAME (Black Asian Minority Ethnic) people are more prone to having this infection, that didn’t really bother me too much. I know the trust has a duty of care to protect me, and I have a duty of care to do my job. I know I have got services to provide so I’m still going ahead, but I’ll just be more cautious and more careful, checking all the latest guidelines on how we can protect ourselves, and of course washing our hands, putting on the mask except when we’re in COVID-secure rooms. It’s a challenge, but I’ve been able to overcome that because I’ve got a service to provide to the NHS. They need us and we need them as well.
I support Black Lives Matter, but as a Christian and a human being, I believe every single life matter: anyone that’s born into this world deserves access to basic amenities and has got a right to live. I believe that’s what NCH&C stands for. Care for people in the community, making sure everyone get access to basic things that they need. So, my message to everyone is that we should take care.
Abraham Samali, Business Analyst
I work as a Business analyst with the Projects and Investments team, however, during COVID-19 pandemic, I was deployed to work with other teams which included IPAC (Infection, Prevention and Control) and the ICC (Incident Control Centre) teams. Throughout this time, I have been supporting these teams at various levels and capacities. I worked very closely with the IPAC team and supported in coordinating several projects which included the Fit Testing programme, Care Home Swabbing and Staff / Volunteer Rota management. The fit testing programme came with a lot of challenge and pressure however with the support of our volunteers and the IPAC team, we were able to ensure that all our frontline workers were fit tested, that they were safe, and they felt confident in performing their job.
Working at the ICC was great too. Working with a team of motivated and dedicated individuals delivering heightened levels of resilience to ensure that NCHC continues to deliver effective services at this time of increased pressure. I worked closely with team members ensuring that accurate and up to date information is readily available to the Incident Commander and Controller to make strategic and tactical decisions. All of this I achieved through taking the lead on the monitoring of Operational and Corporate system function, identifying issues and working with relevant stakeholders to coordinate the actions to successful outcome and doing this on time.
During this time, I think I received great support from my manager and my team, and I feel great to have an acknowledgement for the work I am doing to support the Trust at this very challenging time.