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New international nurses welcomed to UHNM at Christmas event

Almost 40 new overseas nurses have been welcomed to life at UHNM at a ‘Christmas in Your Country’ event.

The festivities held in Royal Stoke’s Chaplaincy saw nurses from countries such as India, Botswana and South Africa enjoy food and drink and swap stories about their life and careers.

The idea for the gathering was the brainchild of Georgina Coster, a Staff Nurse in Critical Care.

Georgina said “Since coming back from maternity leave, I’ve noticed how many overseas nurses are now working at UHNM, and I was struck by how brave it is for somebody to come to fill a vacancy and serve in a place where everything is strange and foreign and not in your mother tongue even.

“I had my eyes opened to just how isolated they could feel, and courageous they are and I’m full of admiration. I really wanted to do something to show that they are welcome here at UHNM and we appreciate them coming and make them feel part of the Trust.

“I’m a Christian and part my faith is doing a lot of talking to God about it and I felt he was telling me to do this Christmas in Your County event. He just put this idea in my head.

“The idea is to bring something from your own country to eat and have a bit of a celebration for them away from home.

“I spoke to the Chaplaincy Team and they were very much on board. It all then happened so quickly after setting a date and making a poster.

“Even up until five minutes before the event was due to start I was still thinking is anybody going to attend, and come to their place of work out of hours, but they did. It was a great turnout, and we even ran out of chairs. There was lots of festive food and drinks, so we ate, drank, took lots of photos and were merry. One by one they all introduced themselves, sharing names, where they’re from and a little bit about them and their nursing background- something they all enjoyed. I was amazing to learn that some had been nursing for over 15 years.

“They were also able to speak amongst themselves, mingle and network which I felt helped them a lot.

“I’m thankful that I went ahead with the idea and feel encouraged and excited to carry out future events. I’m also very thankful for the support of the UHNM Chaplaincy Team and Corporate Nursing Team.”

Chris Wright, Head Chaplain added: “Christmas can be a tricky period for our overseas nurses, some of whom are new to this country and UHNM and won’t be seeing their families for up to three months. As well as helping to organise the event, thanks to a very generous donation of food to UHNM Chaplaincy we were able to provide each member of staff who attended with bags of food to help them over the festive period. It was lovely and a privilege to feel we were able to help these warm and compassionate nurses.”