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Community and mental health services for Southampton, Portsmouth and parts of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.


Chaplain blog - celebrating our international colleagues

Solent NHS Trust was recently awarded the Pastoral Care Quality Award for its international recruitment.

Our chaplain Emma D'Aeth reflects on the work the Trust has done to ensure our international colleagues are welcomed, helped to settle in and flourish.

I can’t believe it is over three years ago since Solent welcomed our international nurses to take up new roles within our inpatient Adult Mental Health services in Portsmouth and in Southampton and our Community Teams.

They arrived in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic with all the restrictions, being confined to their accommodation for the first 10 days of their arrival. But that didn’t dampen their shared commitment and joy in arriving in a new country, culture and organisation.

As Trust chaplain I had been invited to share in offering pastoral, spiritual and social support alongside a small team of amazing colleagues who were responsible for the nurses’ initial recruitment, accommodation and ongoing training. We were a new team; you could say we were beginners!

But as the years have progressed, the team has changed and grown, but we all have a shared experience that has brought great joy, some challenges, and a continued commitment to welcome our new nurses and colleagues, to help them settle and flourish.

My role as chaplain has been focussed on offering hospitality, walking alongside the nurses and listening to their stories. They have made this courageous change in their lives and they have shared their struggles, especially feeling homesick and feeling vulnerable about missing their families. The challenges and also joy as they settling in and begin new lives.

It is so important for everyone to have that sense of belonging and affirmation-everyone has a purpose and so many gifts to offer.

Part of the sense of belonging is also linked to being accepted and valued in a community and, for some of our nurses, a faith community has been really vital to help them settle and find a new support network of friends outside of work.

As chaplain, I would help them link in with a faith community before they arrived. Leaving behind their families and faith communities has been difficult at times, and their experiences are all unique and deeply personal. Being able to live out their faith has been important to their wellbeing.

As each new nurse arrived, I would meet them and introduce myself to them before they went on the wards. I still see them when I visit our units and wards and it is a joy to witness how they have flourished.

For me, it was an absolute privilege to be part of this amazing recruitment and pastoral team of Solent colleagues. Our experiences have been incredibly special.

And it is wonderful for them to be recognised by being awarded this prize for their total commitment and incredible hard work alongside our new nurses. I have always thought they should be having tea with the King!

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While our services can be found around various NHS locations in Southampton and Portsmouth (and surrounding districts), our administrative and managerial centre is based in Southampton at:

Highpoint Venue
Bursledon Road
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