Overseas NHS Workers' Day - Friday 3 March 2023
Date: 03 March 2023
The decision to leave your home, and possibly family and friends to move to another country is not a decision that is taken lightly.
Yet Paul Wanyonyi Simiyu is one of more than 1,900 members of staff who have done exactly that in order to take up career opportunities here at Medway NHS Foundation Trust.
To mark Overseas NHS Workers’ Day (Friday 3 March 2023), the Practice Development Nurse spoke about his experience of leaving Kenya to join the Trust as an overseas nurse.
Paul said: “After qualifying with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing in 2014, I worked as a registered nurse in Kenya under various specialities such as medical-surgical, theatre, accident and emergency, as well as a nursing tutor, over a period of four years.
“It was in 2019 that I made the brave decision to move abroad and come to the UK as an overseas nurse.
“I chose to work for Medway NHS Foundation Trust because I believed that I could put into practice my nursing skills and knowledge and make a difference by following the Trust's values - Bold, Every person counts, Sharing and open and Together.
“Making the decision to relocate to the UK is challenging for most overseas nurses. The decision to start afresh in a new country, leaving your family and friends behind is very difficult but the Trust supported me every step of the way as I prepared to relocate to the UK. On arrival they gave me a warm welcome and there was always someone available to talk to about any questions I had or help I needed, from accommodation to induction.
“To officially become a UK registered nurse, internationally educated nurses are required to complete the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) program. This involves attending the Trust’s induction and classroom OSCE training for six weeks before undertaking the OSCE exam.
“I must admit that the OSCE program with the Trust is top notch. The OSCE trainers were very supportive in making sure that all the overseas nurses were adapting and adjusting positively into the new environment. Gradually you get to adapt with an all-round support system from the Trust.
“During my OSCE training, induction and transition period I worked as a Band 4 overseas nurse. After passing the OSCE exam and getting my Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) pin in December 2019 I began working as a Band 5 Nurse on Lister Ward where I interacted with very wonderful colleagues and nursing students. We were a team and even during difficult shifts, we would pull through to the end. I was warmly welcomed on Lister Ward and the environment was very friendly.
“In January 2021 I became a Band 6 Charge Nurse on Lister Ward, which was a milestone achievement in my nursing career. I learnt a lot in terms of being a leader and I was also able to encourage some of my team members to become leaders as well. As Mahatma Gandhi said 'A sign of a good leader is not how many followers you have, but how many leaders you create.'
“Two years later, I achieved my career dream of working as a Practice Development Nurse OSCE Trainer, which means I now help to prepare international nurses for their OSCE exams. My current team is very supportive, encouraging and motivating in terms of assisting and guiding me in bettering myself and developing my teaching skills.
“I highly recommend the NHS system and Medway NHS Foundation Trust, especially if you want, and have a passion to progress career wise.”
More than 90 different nationalities make up the Trust’s multicultural workforce which work at all levels and in a variety of different roles.
Chief Executive Jayne Black said: “Here at Medway, we have been recruiting overseas staff since 2015. Not only does this allow us to increase our workforce but it also improves diversity and inclusion in the workplace, all of which has a positive impact on an individual's overall health and wellbeing, reduces health inequalities and improves patient outcomes.
“Without the support of our overseas colleagues, we couldn’t run our services. I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank our internationally recruited colleagues for their continued dedication and commitment to delivering the best of care to the people of Medway and Swale.”
Paul Wanyonyi Simiyu is one of more than 1,900 overseas workers who moved to the UK to take up career opportunities at Medway NHS Foundation Trust.
To mark Overseas NHS Workers’ Day (Friday 3 March 2023), the Practice Development Nurse spoke about his experience of leaving Kenya to join the Trust.