Midlands tests ‘tailor-made’ leadership course for ethnic minority nurses and midwives



A tailor-made program has been created to enhance the leadership skills of ethnic minority nurses and midwives looking to take the next steps in their careers. Breastfeeding time spoke to the lead nurse behind the initiative and to a few of the participants.

It was while she was taking a national leadership course herself that Miriam Coffie, deputy director of nursing for NHS England and the Midlands Region of Improvement, began to think about creating her own course. “I was fortunate to have a place in an aspiring deputy director of the nursing program, which was sponsored by the NHS,” she said. But it made her wonder what was being done in her own region to help staff from ethnic minorities get promoted and what was being done for staff at a more junior level than her own.

“We have a real staff shortage in the Midlands region from around Band 6 and from ethnic minorities,” she noted.

After approaching the national teams and looking at what was already provided, like the Ready Now and Stepping Up programs, Ms. Coffie concluded that there was nothing tailor-made enough for the mid-layer staff who were making their first or second steps to leadership and management positions.

“It gave me the power to want to create change in my organization”

Pooja shah

Subsequently, Ms. Coffie’s team, along with the Midlands Chief Nursing Officer, the Region Chief Midwifery Delivery Group and the Midlands Leadership and Lifelong Learning Academy, worked together to deliver a program. “Holistic” and “different”. What they created is the Development Aspirant Ethnic Minority Nursing Leaders and Midwifery Leaders (DAL) program. In December 2020, it was approved for its first deployment, subject to fine-tuning of details, and is currently being tested in the Midlands.

Myriam Coffie

Ms. Coffie didn’t just have her own personal experience to point out the lack of representation at senior levels. The DAL program application highlights research into the issue that has been carried out across the UK. As an example, the 2019 Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) report, which compares the diversity levels of NHS organizations, found that the combined ethnic minority workforce in trusts and clinical commission groups represented 19.7% of the total workforce. However, he showed that this group was over-represented in band 5, at 24.5%, but under-represented from there – 17% in band 6, 14.4% in band 7, 13.5% in band 8a and ending at 6.5% among senior executives.

The pack also cites the 2014 founding report, The “snowy white peaks” of the NHS, in which Roger Kline identified discrimination in leadership and its potentially negative impact on patient care.

When creating the DAL program, Ms. Coffie and her team were aware not to just create another leadership program, but to really “think about the bespoke things that would really help staff take on higher leadership roles.” As a result, the program has sponsors who are senior leaders from ethnic minorities and contains clinical, non-clinical and academic masterclasses. It combines formal learning from the NHS Leadership Academy’s Mary Seacole program, with activities specific to nursing and midwifery, including clinical masterclasses and sessions on financial management.

There are also courses on impostor syndrome, to which individuals from ethnic minority groups are very sensitive, coaching courses designed by an ethnic minority nurse and, most importantly, executive sponsorships – a important element of the design. This means that each participant is assigned an executive level sponsor to provide opportunities such as board level observation and support them during program missions.

In addition, there is a long-term leadership assignment – a written assignment supported by the participant’s parent organization – as well as self-reflection and talent management courses covering interview skills and statement preparation. ‘support.

Ms. Coffie noted that there had been various discussions about which band the program should be for. In the end, it was decided to target bands 6 to 8a. The first pilot started in the summer of 2021 with 22 participants. Seven of them spoke to Breastfeeding time on their experience so far.

“There is collective responsibility and as a top black leader I have a sense of individual responsibility because you know I am one of the very few people in my job.”

Myriam Coffie

Common benefits they mentioned included the self-confidence gained: each participant now felt able to express themselves and had a greater impact and influence in their workplace. Many said they have now spoken to senior managers about action plans to be devised to improve diversity in their own organizations, which they would not have had the confidence to do before taking the course. They also mentioned the benefit of having a new network of colleagues, senior leaders and mentors.

One criticism was about the pace of the one-year course and the time constraints to do all the work. Participants commit to a minimum of 23 days per year for outpatient studies and one flexible day per week for the leadership assignment, while the remainder of the week is spent in their nursing role. They were also working during a period of pressure on staff brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, which also meant that the courses were delivered online. Some participants wished they could take the classes in person, but overall the feedback was very positive.

Pooja Shah, a midwife at Leicester University Hospitals NHS Trust, said the course had taken her life back in a positive way. She is one of the participants now speaking to senior leaders about what should be done to improve diversity in her own workplace. “It gave me the power to want to create change in my organization,” she said. “Midwifery is very under-represented at the senior management level and this course has made me very capable of questioning that, which I would never do before. It gave me the courage and the knowledge to move forward with an idea.

Jordana Wright, an advanced nurse practitioner at the Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust, said hearing the stories of other participants, as well as those of senior leaders, has taught her a lot. “It’s really inspiring to hear what we could accomplish and what a difference we could make for the NHS in such leadership roles. It made me want to change things and connect to networks.

Amy Morrison, a public health nurse at the Leicestershire Partnership Trust, said she was starting to feel some pushback as she put her new skills into action, but noted how important it was to have this’ safe space. “.

“One of the best things I’ve learned is the network, these guys; listening to people who have been through similar situations, feeling the same and having that safe space to explore things, ”she said. “I didn’t even notice that in my team, everyone is white except me, so this [course] gave space to have different conversations.

“I’m changing the way I work and I regain this self-confidence,” she said. “I’m probably meeting some resistance. In the language I’m using now, people say, “Oh, I can tell you are taking a leadership course.” “

Meanwhile, East Midlands Academic Health Science Network midwife Kay Khan said she now applies for promotion and shows up for opportunities more often. She said, “What I found in taking the course was encouragement, both from the cohort but, surprisingly, from my sponsor. It gave me that new confidence that I can do more, so I applied for another promotion.

Nina Jaspal, a cardiac nurse practitioner at Coventry University Hospitals and the Warwickshire NHS Trust, was also applying for higher positions now. She said, “The support and network I have built through this group, this course, has given me the confidence to apply for other roles and be successful in other roles. “

“I didn’t even notice that in my team, everyone is white except me, so that [course] gave space to have different conversations “

Amy morrison

Jaspreet Garcha, a midwife with the same confidence, said: “This course has definitely been life changing and transformed. Everyone has noticed a difference in myself and in the way I present myself and my leadership. I was able to identify things that I would not have had before.

Ms. Garcha, like Ms. Shah, was now speaking about her own hospital’s issues of diversity and representation. “I have tried to implement some changes and recommendations,” she said.

Karl Archer, a mental health nurse at Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, said the course gave him a more motivated and proactive attitude and changed his career prospects. He, like the others, was now taking steps to move forward and move forward and upward. “It’s realizing that in fact I also deserve these opportunities and look to move forward,” he said. “I was happily seated in my job, but the course taught me so much about leaders and myself, how I behave and how I react. “

Ms Coffie stressed the personal importance that creating and delivering the program meant to her, and said she saw it as her responsibility as a black person in a leadership position to keep the door open to people. others.

“There is collective responsibility and as a top black leader I have a sense of individual responsibility because you know I’m one of the few people in my job,” she said.

“I’m thankful for where I came from,” she added, “but I’ve worked really hard, like so many other people have too. They just want a little more fairness and it’s my personal responsibility, I think, even though it shouldn’t be. It’s my personal point of view, my ethical point of view. I see inequalities and, as a role model, I have to do something thing about it. “

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