Recite Me

Celebrating Overseas NHS Workers’ Day 2024

Celebrating over overseas NHS colleagues

Global Unity wellbeing group logo

Friday 1 March 2024 is Overseas NHS Workers’ Day.

Since its launch over 75 years ago, overseas healthcare professionals have played a vital role in the history of the NHS.

Of course, overseas workers have impacted healthcare long before the NHS existed. From pioneers such as Annie Brewster who emigrated from St Vincent in the 1860s and became known the Nurse Ophthalmic treating a variety of eye conditions in Whitechapel Hospital (now know as the Royal London), to James Samuel Risien Russell who is recorded as the first Black British consultant specialising in neurology in the 1880s and subsequently setting up his own mental health practice in the 1900s.

To support colleagues who identify as being an ‘overseas worker’, NCH&C recently launched its Global Unity Wellbeing Group. An informal sub-group of our Diverse Heritage Staff Network, the Global Unity Group is a supportive community for internationally recruited colleagues, or those who were educated overseas. This welcoming group is a place for internationally educated staff to meet in-person, network and get to know each other, participate in bespoke learning opportunities, and celebrate the diverse heritage of our growing workforce. The launch event back in November saw new and established staff come together to enjoy food, including an introduction to “chips and gravy!”

Photo from NCH&C's Global Unity meeting

My Story: Paschal Okorie 

This Overseas NHS Workers’ Day, one of our internationally educated colleagues, Paschal Okorie, agreed to tell us their story.

Paschal is a Physiotherapist based in West Norfolk. Here is their story…

“In the words of Roy Bennett’s ‘The light in the heart’, it is said that no one has ever achieved greatness without dreams. Also, Walt Disney in one of his famous quotes posited that if you can dream it, you can do it.

“The idea of studying physiotherapy came when I was a little younger. Due to my love for football (watching and playing) and general wellbeing of people, having accompanied my mother to the hospital as she used to take my little brother who at the time was diagnosed with congenital talipes equinovarus (club foot). Also, watching football and seeing how the physios and the doctors will run into the field to help players when they are injured grew my passion.

“In 2010, I gained admission into the university to study my dream course (Medical Rehabilitation) for 5 years and graduated in September 2015 with Bachelor of Medical Rehabilitation (Physiotherapy) degree. I also proceeded to get my practising license in March 2016 and the rest, as they say, is history.

“As someone who is keen to keep adding more knowledge and would love to keep progressing in the profession – and who loves to travel to learn new things, especially other people’s culture, I applied for HCPC license in 2021 in other to migrate to the UK despite the pandemic at the time. I finally got registered with HCPC and by January 2022, I got a job role offer for a Band 6 Physiotherapist at NCH&C, after working in my home country for 5 years post induction.

“I would say so far that the journey has been smooth, and I have settled quickly into my new role and environment, despite the pressure of coming to a different country and trying to acclimatise with the environment, people, and culture, and the new job role, working to do my best to improve the service when called upon, and providing high quality care for patients.

“It’s been a roller coaster of multiple experiences from adapting to use of SystmOne, engaging in data transfer to ITP, replying to emails and tasks on daily basis, team meetings etc. and combining this with attending to my rota daily. All thanks to a great MSK West team members ably led by Sarah Hogan who have been very supportive and accommodating. I would like to specially appreciate Elinor who was the first person to welcome me to King’s Lynn out of her busy schedule at Norwich in the absence of my line manager at the time. I want to appreciate Richard for releasing his bicycle to help me get to work on time from QEH quarters. I would like to also appreciate Jamie, Frank, Chioma, Tracy, Clare, and Sara for the various roles they played in making sure I did settle in without much difficulty.

Finally, the journey just began.”

To find out more about Equality, Diversity & Inclusion at NCH&C, please visit our We Care microsite.