Trust receives NHS Pastoral Care Quality Award

Date: 15 January 2024

NHS Pastoral Care Quality Award News

We're pleased to announce that we have been awarded the *NHS Pastoral Care Quality Award in recognition of our work in international recruitment and the physical and emotional support we provide to overseas staff when they join us.

To achieve the award, trusts need to meet a set of standards for best practice pastoral care.

Support offered by Medway NHS Foundation Trust includes in-house training and support for internationally educated nurses and midwives taking the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE), which is required for registration in the UK, plus a buddy peer support programme. The Trust also offers support with flights, transport, and accommodation, and provides a welcome pack which includes groceries or food vouchers, bedding, toiletries and kitchen wear, as well as booklet filled with information about the local area, finances, local facilities, travel and general information on living in the UK.

Nnenna Nweje (pictured below), who trained and qualified as a registered nurse at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, in Nnewi, Nigeria, praised the Trust for the help and support she received when she was recruited in October 2021.

She said: “Relocating to the UK was a good choice for me and from interview success to arriving in the UK, the Trust was supportive in various ways. There was clear communication at different points during the preparation for relocation about what to expect, including temporary accommodation being provided for six weeks to allow me time to familiarise myself with the area before seeking permanent accommodation.

“The Trust also introduced me to colleagues who were going through the same process and the Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) staff network as a community of interest to improve a sense of belonging. I was also added to staff groups where members could discuss concerns and challenges, and ask for advice and ideas.”

Her first role with us was as a registered nurse on a respiratory ward at Medway Maritime Hospital, which is operated by the Trust. Nnenna has since progressed her career and now works as an Infection Prevention and Control Nurse. Through the Trust she also completed a training programme and qualified as a Professional Nurse Advocate (PNA).

“My career achievements were made possible thanks to the help and support I received and I am now looking at other opportunities to help advance my career with the Trust,” Nnenna added.

More than 90 different nationalities make up our multicultural workforce who work at different levels and in a variety of roles. Last year, from 1 January to 31 December 2023, we welcomed 166 internationally educated nurses and midwives from Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Nepal and Pakistan. A further 49 are expected to be recruited by this February.

Sarah Vaux, Interim Chief Nursing Officer, said “I am very proud of the work carried out by our Recruitment Team and Practice Development Nurses to support our internationally educated nurses and midwives and for their achievement in gaining this award.

“As most of our colleagues recruited from overseas are highly skilled and experienced healthcare professionals, they start working with us right away while we help them prepare for their exams.

“We understand the decision for someone to leave their home, and possibly family and friends, to move to another country for a career in the NHS is not something they take lightly which is why the safe arrival, induction, and the provision of support we offer our overseas staff during and after the recruitment process is extremely important to us. As well as ensuring we are looking after their wellbeing it also helps them to integrate with the Trust and get to know their new work colleagues as well as our local communities.”

*The NHS Pastoral Care Quality Award is part of NHS England and NHS Improvement’s International Recruitment Programme. Launched in March 2022, the award provides a benchmark to ensure internationally educated nurses and midwives across England receive high-quality pastoral support. It’s also an opportunity for trusts to recognise their work in international recruitment and demonstrate their commitment to supporting internationally educated nurses and midwives at every stage of recruitment and beyond, both to potential and existing employees.

Organisations that receive the award are reassessed every three years.

  • Summary:

    We have been awarded the NHS Pastoral Care Quality Award in recognition of our work in international recruitment and the physical and emotional support we provide to overseas staff when they join us.