AN INDIAN origin NHS nurse has described her nursing career as “varied, interesting and rewarding” as the health service announced its mission to fill thousands of vacant nursing roles.
With recruits from the European Union beginning to leave the NHS in large numbers, the question of how to staff the hospitals and care homes has become serious. Currently, more than 40,000 nursing roles are unfilled amid a sector-wide crisis. The crisis is most serious among nurses and midwives as more than one in 10 roles remain unfilled.
In a bid to fill the vacant nursing positions, the ‘We are the NHS’ campaign is highlighting the importance of the nursing profession.
Poonam Singh is a registered general nurse who is based at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle. After getting married, she arrived in the UK from India in 1999. She graduated from Northumbria University in 2012 with a first-class post graduate degree in nursing and is now part of a wider team delivering women’s services.
Singh works as a sedationist for patients involved in fertility treatment.
Talking about her specialist role as a senior staff nurse, Singh said: “As nurses, we administer medicines and assist with some medical procedures. More generally, nurses can also develop treatment plans for patients and carry out clinical research. There is so much more to modern nursing than people expect.”
Talking about her own career progression, Singh recalled joining the NHS in 2004 as a healthcare assistant, which is a Band 2 role. She now work as a Band 6 registered general nurse.
She now aspires to work as a senior sister and has applied to attend the NHS Academy of Leadership Stepping Up Course, a development programme for aspiring black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) colleagues.
“I think my story demonstrates that career progression within nursing is a reality and through programmes such as the Stepping Up course, it’s possible to see that the infrastructure is there to help everyone achieve their ambitions,” she said.
Reflecting on her family’s views of her career choice, she noted: “My family think very highly of me, especially my husband who is very supportive, and my son and daughter, who take great pride in saying our mum is a nurse at the centre for life.”
Regarding the views on nursing within the South Asian community, Singh said: “Unfortunately, there are still many people who see nursing as a job without dignity. I have lost count of the number of people who either assume I am a doctor, or who think that if you are not a doctor, you are a nobody.
“Over the past 10 years, things have changed, and I would say that there is more respect and value for the role that nurses play than ever before, however, there’s still some way to go.
“That’s why I’m supporting the ‘We are the NHS’ campaign. I want to raise awareness of the fact that nursing is varied, interesting, rewarding and importantly, it’s not just a job, there is a career there for anyone who wants it.”
Search nursing careers for more information or visit http://nhs.uk/nursing-careers