"I want other Indian nurses to feel welcome and to settle in"
An initiative of Royal Preston Hospital Nurse, Anu Thomas, called the British Indian Nurses Association (BINA), has been launched to help Indian nurses joining the NHS to settle in and meet people with similar backgrounds.
NHS nurses have been struggling more than most with the pandemic putting restrictions on socialising and meeting with others outside your own household
BINA has been launched as part of the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) Annual Virtual Conference.
The voluntary organisation has been set up with the support and insight of NHS England, NHS Improvement and Health Education England.
The local Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic community also had a large hand to play in the organisation’s inception.
Latest figures from the Nursing and Midwifery Council showed there were more than 24,000 professionals on the register who trained in India.
Anu Thomas, nurse consultant and clinical stroke lead at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, is the BINA executive lead for the North.
Speaking on spearheading the new organisation, she said:
“Newly arrived nurses can feel frustrated, especially now with the pandemic, when they cannot meet people of similar backgrounds.
“We aim to provide Indian nurses support from those who know what it’s like to be in their shoes.
“BINA exists to provide a support network for new Indian nurses to help them adapt to change quickly and to help them to stay within the NHS.
“I myself know how it feels to join a workforce as large as the NHS, but when I started there wasn’t a pandemic!
“I want other Indian nurses to feel welcome and to settle in as well as I did so that they can enjoy long and successful careers with the NHS.”
BINA will provide Indian nurses with advice on staying warm in the British weather and help them choose a new school for their children.
The organisation aims to support them in any way they can, as the NHS and Anu Thomas believe it was vital that Indian nurses felt reassured and “welcome”.
Anu added: “They just need that reassurance, someone who is supporting them and someone who speaks the same language.
“The organisation will make them feel homely and welcome so that they remain within the NHS.”
Sarah Cullen, Director of Nursing, Midwifery and AHPs at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“We are extremely proud that our colleague Anu has set up such an important organisation.
“Here at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, we champion equality and host regular listening events for our BAME staff.
“This is a welcome additional resource that we can signpost members of our workforce who have an Indian background.
“We are really inspired by Anu’s passion for helping more Indian nurses who join the NHS to settle in.
“The organisation will be particularly beneficial in these challenging times.
“We as a Trust will support Anu in spreading the word about BINA and encouraging our staff to get involved.”