Gamu Mhizha is a Ward Sister at Kettering General Hospital who relocated to live and work in Kettering eleven years ago and says it was a great move for her family and her career.
Gamu moved to the UK from Zimbabwe in 2003 to study nursing at The University of Wolverhampton’s Walsall Campus. She says she was ‘born to be a nurse’ and wanted to look after people in need from a very young age.
When she completed her studies, Gamu was offered a trainee nursing post at a hospital in Walsall and she looked for a property to buy close to work, where she could bring up her family.
She viewed properties in Birmingham and further afield in Leicester, but they were too expensive. Fortunately, Gamu saw an advert for homes in Corby in Northamptonshire. They were just like the homes she had viewed previously, but far cheaper. She also fell in love with leafy Corby and decided it was the ideal place to raise her children because of its good schools and safe and friendly community. Gamu relocated to Corby and commuted to Birmingham for six months to complete her training before taking a job at Kettering General Hospital on the medicine ward.
Discussing her career move, Gamu says, “Kettering General Hospital is such a friendly place, where everyone knows each other – from the doctors to the porters, directors and housekeepers. There is a great atmosphere of collaboration and culturally, it is very diverse. The staff are from different countries around the world. It is like the United Nations. On my ward, we have nurses from every country in Africa, as well as India, Japan, China, the Philippines, Australia, Europe and Eastern Europe.”
Gamu’s first role at Kettering General Hospital was in medicine, an area where she has excelled.
Gamu says, “Working in medicine is very fast paced. I always say you need dancing shoes to work here. It can be tough at times, with a high turnover of staff, but I love it, it suits my personality.”
“During a typical shift, we can have 21 admissions, on top of the previous night’s admissions. The patients come to us from Accident & Emergency before they are transferred to a ward. Sometimes, patients are frustrated as they have been waiting a long time. Our job is to assess them, make them comfortable and ensure they are admitted to the right ward.”
Gamu is passionate about learning, education and teaching others. In 2008, she moved into medical education – becoming a clinical skills and stimulation facilitator. During this period, she also did a degree in practice education. As a clinical skills facilitator Gamu focused on teaching, educating and giving motivational talks to doctors, nurses and midwives at the hospital to ensure that all staff had the skills and knowledge to practice safely. She also became an examiner for medical students at Leicester Medical school.
One of her key achievements was to campaign for a simulation lab at the hospital to train healthcare professionals in realistic scenarios. She was successful and the hospital received funding from Health Education England for the simulation lab.
Gamu also set up a BAME group for the Trust and used to Chair the meetings and has talked to the media about her experiences as a nurse from Zimbabwe. Today, Kettering General Hospital has set up a new BAME group Diversity by Design which is focused on supporting staff from different ethnic backgrounds.
After three years of providing help to the staff of Kettering General through a facilitator role, Gamu applied for the ward sister role to provide her insight and knowledge back to the wards.
Summing up working at Kettering, Gamu says, “Kettering General Hospital offers an environment where the staff are like family and it is very rare not to find staff smiling at all times however their day is going. There are also fantastic career opportunities here – if people want to progress, they are given the support to do so. I believe, people can do anything if they set their minds to it.”
“Kettering General Hospital is leading the way in recruiting international nurses from around the world. We are the only hospital in the country with a hundred per cent pass rate for international nurses undertaking their mandatory practical skill exams. Our diverse international staff is one of the major reasons why Kettering is so unique. With someone from every nationality in the world working at the hospital. It is truly a United Nations hospital.”