Oxleas celebrate Black History Month in style

More than 60 staff and service users attended an event to celebrate Black History Month on 29 October 2010 at the Memorial Hospital.

Event organiser Qaisra Khan, the Spiritual and Cultural Care Coordinator for Oxleas said that feedback from the event included the comment: “I felt invigorated by the presenters and speakers and was bowled over by the discussions and comments coming from members as to their dedication, commitment and, yes, devotion to Oxleas.”

Misheck Sainetti from the BME network gave the welcoming address before the achievement of BME staff in the NHS was explained by special guest Dr Debbie Weekes-Bernard, Senior Research and Policy Analyst at the Runnymede Trust, focusing on a project on the Asian contribution to the health service. She presented a draft of a project on the BME contribution to the NHS from the 1940s to 1960s.

Mercy Browne Oxleas Nurse of the Year also gave an enlightening talk.

As well as food for the mind and spirit the audience was also treated to lunch and refreshments from different cultural backgrounds accompanied by African drum music.

Enthusiastic supporter Afolabi Oyedele went to the meeting with mentor Mercy, nurse practitioner with the Assessment and Shared Care team at Ferryview in Woolwich.

Afolabi Oyedele said: “Mercy’s speech was aimed at the qualities of nursing and encouragement of BME staff, including students in the NHS on how best to strive for what they want to achieve in order to attain their potential.

“The Oxleas Mentoring scheme which is aimed at developing individual staff was explained and BME members were urged to respond when sent information.

“The day has been successful as commented by people around me when the event came to a close.

“It was my first experience of a BME network gathering. Seeing lots of professionals around me who were once students and listening to the speeches and comments, made it dawn on me the responsibilities and actions I should expect from myself not only as a student but also as a staff nurse in less than a year’s time.

“I learnt from this social gathering that it’s not just good enough playing the ‘race’ card, that is, blaming every setback in one’s road to achievement on racism, but people from the BME group should ask themselves if there is something they are responsible for on their own part that has not been done in reaching their potential.

“It has to be said that when people have experienced what they deem as racism, it may not be easily named as such because of the danger of false accusations and the repercussions that may arise afterwards.

“However some staff may argue that they have experienced what they can actually name as racism and may not be too happy about keeping quiet but rather speak out.

“The consensus among students and professionals at the BME event is to move on, not to take things personally nor use the race card but to further develop and manage oneself so more knowledge and confidence is gained to help withstand the work demands/stress placed on staff to enable meaningful achievement.”

“The members of BME network have a role to play not only in developing their own skills and giving support to members but to strive for and support service users ensuring that service users from BME communities have equal access to services, are not discriminated against and are treated fairly.”

Under the nursing and midwifery standards of conduct, performance and ethics for nurses and midwives (NMC 2008), BME nurses and students must show personal and professional dedication to equality and diversity, added Afolabi Oyedele.

Photo caption

African drumming provided the music entertainment at the Memorial Hospital, celebrating Black History Month.

Published on 12th November 2010