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Moustafa’s Story

Rebuilding my nursing career in the UK

Back in 2021, HCA Healthcare UK partnered with Talent Beyond Boundaries to support healthcare professionals who had been forcibly displaced from their home countries by conflict and civil unrest and help them find a new role, and home here in the UK. Moustafa joined our team in November 2021 through the programme and here, he tells us more about his journey with TBB and how he's rebuilding his career at HCA UK.

So, tell us a bit about your background?

As a Palestinian refugee in Lebanon me and my family lived with few rights, however I still built a successful career there. After graduating from university in 2004 with a degree in nursing, I had a varied and fast paced career. Within 2 years of starting as a Registered Nurse I received my first promotion and then continued to build my career, joining Raee Hospital which has the largest Critical Care Unit in South Lebanon, as their Critical Care Unit Manager.

In the following years in developed my skills in Critical Care and leadership, opened new units in the hospital, expanded our capacity and completed a Masters Degree in Healthcare and Equality management, so I never really sat still! Then in 2018 I was appointed to the Director of Nursing post at Raee hospital, which at the time had 250 beds and was in that role for around 3 years.

How did you begin your journey with Talent Beyond Boundaries (TBB)?

At the start of 2021 the situation in Lebanon deteriorated and there was a significant economic and political crisis so I knew something had to change. I heard about the programme from a friend and so I applied and after a while they contacted me about a registered nurse post in the UK. I had to make a big decision, I would be leaving my career as a Director of Nursing to start again, but my main goal always has been and will be the safety and security of my family. So, I took the chance, did the interview with HCA UK and passed! After that I completed my nursing exam and my Visa application before arriving in the UK in November 2021.

Your journey with HCA UK?

I started my journey with HCA UK at The Wellington Hospital in London as a Pre-registered ICU staff nurse and during the first 3 months I worked hard to get my NMC Pin, passing my OSCE and OET with a really strong result. Not long after in July 2022 I received my first promotion and successfully secured a role as a Senior Staff Nurse in the Orthopaedic, Spinal and Neural department.  I’m really enjoying the role and working at the hospital and everyone has been so supportive, giving me lots of insight into the nursing career pathways available to me so I can continue to rebuild my career. In October I also received a Daisy Award, an internal award celebrating our extraordinary Nurses. I’m incredibly proud to be a member of the nursing team at The Wellington Hospital.

How have you adjusted?

It’s been challenging, but the continuous support from everyone at HCA UK and TBB has made it much easier, I’m learning more each day and becoming more confident. It’s a new country and new mentality, everything is so new! I remember the team from HCA and TBB welcoming us at Heathrow airport when we arrived, providing everything I needed to get settled in, including 3 months free accommodation followed by 3 months at half price; which was plenty of time to find my feet.

Even at The Wellington everyone has been so supportive. Clinically, the nursing is the same, but there’s been a wide range of new policies, procedures, equipment and systems to get used to here in the UK. However I never felt alone, I had a preceptor guiding me along with support from managers and matrons to bring me up to speed on all the UK laws and regulations; as well as HCA’s code, values and ethics which are at the heart of everything we do.

What are your future plans?

The first thing for me is bringing my family over, my wife and 2 kids. For the last few months I’ve focussed on building a home for them here in the UK, getting a steady job and getting everything ready for them when they arrive. I’ll be starting their application soon and hopefully they’ll be joining me as soon as January 2023. It’s been challenging without them so I’m really looking forward to it. I love to plan, so post my family arriving my 3-year plan includes getting my Masters degree recognised in the UK, becoming a Charge Nurse by the end of 2023 and within 3 years, I’d love to be back in a management role. I know it’s going to be a long journey to get back to where I was back in Lebanon but it’s been worth it to help my family start a new life.