The Shuri Network nursing and midwifery programme is a digital fellowship designed to empower ethnic minority women with interests in digital innovation through coaching and shadowing sessions.
Working at the digital elite status Chase Farm Hospital elective orthopaedic centre has provided me with several opportunities to witness how digital innovation has revolutionised theatre management systems and waiting lists to enhance the patient experience. Combined data bases and technologies have also improved patient safety, with timely, vital information sharing across the NHS.
“I began to view myself differently, focusing on my goals rather than my weaknesses”
I was signposted to the Shuri Network opportunity via email by the trust’s Black and minority ethnic network and my senior management team at work. It has been exciting to relay my progress so far, and great to have support from my department. I believe that enabling the workforce to embrace their own diversity, individuality, and explore their professional interest helps to motivate and develop staff.
The Shuri Network has been a breath of fresh air. That professional development and career conversation I had longed for. OK, some might say, but I had an appraisal at work. Yes and it was fit for purpose. However, my experience with the Shuri Network helped me to align my personal goals and strengths to consider the kind of professional I wanted to become, and how I could achieve this. My ethos, what I wanted to portray, in essence my brand, what I could offer, and how I can facilitate the change I wanted to see for myself in someone else. I began to view myself differently, focusing on my goals rather than my weaknesses.
The Shuri Network has been instrumental to my personal growth, it has been a platform that has given me a voice. The Shuri Network for me is about acceptance. It is about being able to relate to like-minded individuals with shared experiences and common aims of digital health, patient safety, innovation. It’s understanding that my personal contributions and views are valid. Personally, as a woman of colour, the Shuri Network is about Black and minority ethnic representation at a senior level and seeing people like myself in senior roles that I can emulate.
Since joining the Shuri Network, I have grown in confidence. Let me also note, that there is a difference between saying you are confident and feeling more confident.
I was fortunate enough to have a network that encouraged fellows to step out into leadership roles within the cohort. I was elected as a nurse representative for my cohort and was able to develop my research skills through a digital survey designed to obtain views from my peers. The selection process was a chance to put myself forward, which is not always easy, especially in a new environment.
The support and encouragement from peers give an added dynamic to the Shuri Network. We are all on our personal journeys within the network but also have these shared experiences.
I also discovered through this digital fellowship, that I was not using social media correctly. I dare say, I am now networking. I recently attended a conference and came across new digital healthcare roles and data management systems I was unfamiliar with. I contacted the Shuri Network for support with great results. There are many sensational leaders, clinicians, educators with core initiatives on how to galvanise and transform digital services within healthcare for a better patient experience, so it’s worth exploring.
I would highly recommend the Shuri Network. It is an amazing programme that reminds me that as frontline health professionals, the digital network includes all of us, not just software engineers or analysts. This cohort has been an eclectic mix of professionals across the nursing and midwifery disciplines, a wealth of clinical expertise and digital experience.
I look forward to, building on these newly formed relationships and learning more about myself and the professionals around me. Seeing how we all use digital transformation to enhance patient health services is truly inspiring.
Felicia Akubue is a theatre nurse, Chase Farm Hospital, Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust