This interview framework was developed by the Get On Up Community Researchers and Reporters.
Eric Adjaidoo, Clinical Nurse Specialist, is about to leave Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust after 30 years of service to Black and minority ethnic communities.
“I am proud that my work benefits all people who use services –
regardless of ethnicity.
Addressing equality always brings us better quality for everybody.”
- 1. Can you tell us a bit about your role as a Clinical Nurse Specialist?
The post came into being around 2004. The idea for the post was to provide clinical leadership for African and African-Caribbean communities in the city of Nottingham as all the evidence told us that these communities were over represented in mental health services. Gradually, in response to evidence, the post was broadened out to include all black and minority ethnic groups across the County.
Between 2005 and 2010 the DRE – Delivering Race Equality – agenda was very much at the forefront of service planning and provision so I was asked to provide clinical leadership in relation to the delivery of race equality in the Trust. I am also the clinical lead for staff, including doctors, nurses, occupational therapists and social workers. It is also my role to keep professionally updated and to conduct research to ensure that the Trust is in tune with and responsive to the changing needs of BME communities. Over time, I have become a resource for students from Nottingham, Nottingham Trent, Derby and Sheffield Hallam universities, who are doing research into BME mental health Nottingham . I have also become an ambassador for the Trust, working to encourage more people from BME communities into nursing whether that be general nursing or nursing in relation to learning disabilities or mental health. I am also proud to represent the Trust regionally and nationally in the area of medicine management.
- 2. Before you became a Clinical Nurse Specialist, what did you do?
For 10 years I worked at the Trust as a Community Psychiatric Nurse based at Regent Street. The role involved assessing African and African Caribbean people who use mental health services, drawing up their care plans, supporting them in their journey through mental health services and supporting them in their care, treatment and recovery in the community.
- 3. What 3 words describe you best?
Hard-working, reliable and honest (the latter of which has sometimes got me into trouble!).
- 4. What do you mostly enjoy about your role?
I enjoy being the service users’ voice – being a voice for the most vulnerable – and being there in good times and in bad times. I am proud that my work benefits all people who use services – regardless of ethnicity. Addressing equality always brings us better quality for everybody.
- 5. What do you dislike about the role?
Managers who do not address race equality in care and services and managers who do not like to even discuss race equality.
- 6. If you had a wish list about your services, what would be on top?
I wish I would have pushed even more for service users to be partners in decisions that affect them. So I would wish for the Trust to support anyone coming into this role or similar roles to enable people to be meaningfully engaged in decision making. I would wish for the Trust to acknowledge and value this aspect of the role. Whilst the post is valued at the top of the organisation, I would wish that others in the Trust acknowledged and valued the post.
- 7. What would you do differently regarding a past decision you have made as a Clinical Nurse Specialist?
If I could start over again, at the start of my career I would have listened to service users more and provided that leadership to encourage others to. That would be my advice to anyone else starting out in mental health services.
- 8. Looking back at career in the Trust, what are you most proud of?
I believe that I excelled as an Ambassador locally, regionally and nationally.
I have been a Champion in providing clinical leadership for BME groups.
I have been instrumental in integrating a physical health check – ‘MOT’ into mental health assessments and this practice had become embedded in Trust.
I have been awarded 2 Trust Oscar awards for valuing difference in relation to service users, cares and clinicians.
The pinnacle has probably been my piece of research ‘Medicine Management – the impact on service users living with medication’. The report has attracted local, regional and national interest and has been acknowledged by the department of health and admired for its service user focus. The report challenges organisations to change their culture to give service users a more informed choice and not to make decisions without them.
- 9. What other question should we have asked you?
I would ask ‘What have been the challenges?’
- 10. OK, so what have been the challenges?
I’m a well qualified and experienced clinician having worked for the Trust 30 years. Regardless of ethnicity, I’m the only person in the whole of the East Midlands who is triple trained. I hold:
– RMN – Registered Mental Nurse
– RGN – Registered General Nurse
– RNLD – Registered Nurse, Learning Disabilities (formally the RNMS – Registered Nurse Mental Sub-normality – can you believe it was called that!)
I also have a BSC in healthcare studies and a Bachelor in medical science specialising in crisis admission in BME communities. I’m the only Black Clinical nursing specialist in post in the country – no other Trust has a post that focuses only on BME Groups and mental health.
The most challenging thing is that despite my qualifications and experience, I have constantly had to prove myself.
Finally, what have you enjoyed best about working with Bright Ideas?
Bright Ideas has been very instrumental in keeping BME issues at the forefront of various agendas. It is a voice for the most vulnerable in the communities that live here. And, Bright Ideas has always been supportive to me.