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Muslim Women's Day 2021

26 Mar 21 - 01 Jan 01

As part of Muslim Women's Day, we caught up with Rashida, a Clinical Lead Nurse within our Specialist Residential Service team to discuss how she broke down barriers in terms of her career progression.

How have you found the Trust’s inclusive culture and has this helped you to progress your career?

I feel that the Trust’s inclusive culture has always been a great support to me. I have been working at HPFT since I was a student and have always felt supported by the Trust to practice my religious beliefs and have been generously provided facilities to accommodate this. I have always felt encouraged by my colleagues and senior members of staff to progress through my career and my religion has never been a factor from withholding me from progression. Being a Muslim woman is a key part of my identity and I have never felt that it has ever been a detriment to my career but in fact has been a great asset for my career as a nurse.

How do you feel being a senior staff member in the Trust and has your religion had any impact on this?

I feel humbled and privileged to be in this position where I can help support my team to help improve the care that are offered to our service users and their families. I feel that Islam has provided me with a great insight into how I can best support the team. By having religious practices of my own, I try my best to ensure that we try our best to facilitate it so that staff can attend their religious gatherings and also feel supported at work when they are observing their religious practices. Also for our service users, we have a very diverse service user population in SRS and feel that it is important that their religious beliefs are respected and facilitated at every point of their life, whether that has been religious festivals, weekly services or even at their time of passing.

With Islam having such principles as caring for others, this has helped me improve my skills as a nurse and do my best to provide a caring focus for our service users. Also Islam has a strong focus on the role of family and the importance of it, that it has also helped me see our service users as more than just people we care for, but having spent my entire nursing care with some of these amazing individuals and SRS being a long stay ward, they have become like family and I feel it is important that we treat them in that manner.

Have you had to battle any stereotypes throughout your career from service users or staff?

As like many Muslims, the atrocities of 9/11 was quite an important turning point in our lives, and initially I did encounter some reactions from others (a very small number) which did make me feel uncomfortable, however I felt very supported by my manager when I mentioned it to them and they dealt with the issue. I’ve always been very grateful for all the support that I have been provided in this respect. But apart from that I have only really felt appreciated and supported for my religious belief which is something I am truly grateful for and find such an amazing quality in my colleagues.

What has the response been like from your family/friends and from your local Muslim community?

I have always felt grateful for the support I have received from my family and friends and I have found that the Muslim community hold the NHS in such high esteem. The Trust has always supported me in being able to accommodate my family and community commitments.

Like many other communities, I feel there is a lot more work we can do to improve awareness of mental health and learning disabilities. It is incredible when we hear how many people are encountering difficulties with mental health or learning disabilities either with themselves or their loved ones, and I feel that we all have a responsibility to help support them and having had opportunities to meet with members of our local community it has really helped me to gain a better understanding of mental health and learning disabilities and I hope to help however I can.

Having spoken to other Muslim women, we have an understanding that attaining the skills and qualifications to work in the caring profession is a gift that Allah (God) has provided us with and that we feel it is our duty upon us to make use of this gift to help look after those who are in need. I feel that the Trust has supported me all the way through to help accomplish this, and that is something I am very grateful for.

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