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07 October 2019

Bristol Royal Infirmary nurse develops career after completing Windrush Leadership Programme

A nurse from the Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI) has been empowered to take on new opportunities after graduating from a Florence Nightingale Foundation course which recognises the contribution of Windrush nurses and midwives.

 Charlette Graham-Brown

Charlette Graham-Brown was one of 70 BME people to take part in the Health Education England funded course, designed to create a better understanding of personal leadership styles, improve a sense of equal treatment amongst peers and management, and develop political and emotion intelligence to impact positive personal development.

Talking about her experience on the course, Charlette said: "It helped build my confidence and made me feel more inspired in what I'm doing.

"It's made me feel capable of improving patient care and able to look at how we can go about doing that, building opportunities out of small moments"

During the course, which took place in London, participants undertook the Myer-Briggs test to get a better understanding of their personality type and how their management style can flourish from that.

Charlette added: "Using Brene Brown's 'Anatomy of Trust', we looked at the mixed blessings of different leaders, and how they can impact on our lives.

"We also had a RADA training session, focussing on how you perceive yourself and how that comes across to other people.

"This has not only helped my own presentation skills, but is something I've been able to pass on to the student nurses I work with, giving them more confidence when delivering handovers."

One of the key areas the course covered was why there are not more BME nurses and midwives in leadership positions.

"It's not always linked to confidence, it can be down to the support available to you," said Charlette.

"My message to my BME colleague is that whatever you want, you can achieve it, so do not limit yourself and do not allow anyone to limit you. Always be curious and maintain your professionalism."

Charlette and Sarah

Before taking part in the Windrush Nurses and Midwives Leadership Programme, Charlette had wanted to step up in her career.

While working as a staff nurse on the A900 ward at the BRI, the ward's sister noticed Charlette's ambition and sent her an application form for the course.

After applying, Charlette got a call from the Florence Nightingale Foundation to say that her personal statement was so strong that she did not need to come for an interview and was immediately offered a place on the course.

"After coming back from the course, I saw that there was a senior staff nurse secondment available on another ward," explains Charlette. "I knew it was the perfect opportunity for me to put these new skills into practice.

"The course taught me not to be frightened about anything and to just go for it. You need to keep learning and keep your mind open.

"Whenever I speak to my BME colleagues about this, I encourage them all to apply to the course, even if they feel as though they might not be accepted. You have to change your mindset to 'I can prove you wrong' - because we can."