As a preview to our next OH Today, Occupational Health Education and Training special, Ann-Marie Adiku-Thomas provides an insight into her journey and experience.
I never thought I would be here! My journey to Occupational Health (OH) began in September 2021. At the pandemic’s peak, my skin condition had flared up to the point where it became difficult to work safely and effectively as a nurse in a clinical setting with patients. This led me to Occupational Health! I entered the care of Dr Shriti Pattani (SOM President) and an amazing team of nurses.
In a period of my nursing where I felt discouraged about my nursing journey, I experienced support and advocacy from OH through a challenging time. Amid the pandemic, I felt seen and heard.
After several appointments and meetings, I was redeployed from the ward setting to clinical duties supporting the COVID help desk in OH. My redeployment exposed me to the unique position OH held in contributing to and supporting the health and wellbeing of NHS employees in the workplace. and How OH improves the quality of working life and therefore patient care, showing that it is an essential area for everyone.
With time and with reduced exposure to recurrent handwashing my skin condition began to improve and respond to treatment. This meant I could consider adjusting back to clinical duties. However, I began to think about a career in OH. Fortunately, a job opportunity presented itself which I applied for and was successful.
Being part of the team, I now see the workplace from a preventive perspective. OH, has become a fulfilling place to work, encouraging and advocating health for healthcare professionals. As my experience in OH is developing I have realised the progress and success I can achieve, with a focus on public health.
This has deepened my knowledge which I am now able to demonstrate in the workplace. It has confirmed my choice of career in occupational health. I had the privilege of learning from various OH professionals with years of experience and the opportunity to be taught alongside other aspiring OH nurses of different bandings and skill sets. This reinforced the benefits of pursuing an OH career for me. Through this course, I gained a deep appreciation and understanding of what people in need of OH services are experiencing, as well as a great respect and admiration for the professionals of Occupational Health.
Through my practice and ongoing learning, I desire to have a positive and supportive impact on the lives of those in the workplace, such as that I experienced. I am honoured to stand as an ambassador. My journey thus far allows me to give back in education and advocacy to Occupational Health and the Public Health community.