Shareen is an Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Lead at North Middlesex University.
Starting her NHS career off working in the Radiotherapy Department, Shareen used her experience and skills to get into her current position. Below, Shareen details her journey and why she decided to make a change.
I qualified as a Therapy Radiographer and entered full-time employment in the NHS in 2004. During my three year degree, I honestly didn’t have a clue on where my career would take me – and even if it was a career that I wanted to pursue.
After five years working in the Radiotherapy department in Poole Hospital, I returned to Imperial College, Charing Cross, where I completed my practical training and found that I was actually quite good at my job and really began to enjoy it.
There are an unexpected technical side to the profession. I always thought that the degree was very physics based and often wondered: “Why will I need physics to look after cancer patients?” Little did I know how useful it would be to combine physics and biology/anatomy when accurately positioning patients and targeting radiation for live saving treatment. I always took great pride in working in cancer care and found the humanity in the majority of the patients overwhelming and inspiring.
After 10 years as a Clinical Therapy Radiographer, I moved over to manage Cancer Services at North Middlesex University Hospital. As a Therapy Radiographer, you gain knowledge and expertise in cancer and the development/advancement of the disease. As the Cancer Services Manager, you don’t really need to know all this, but it does help.
I quickly had to learn the value and and methods of effective leadership and develop my management skills as I adopted a team of over 30 administrative staff members. I found some of my skills from my clinical career were transferable and enabled me to communicate with a wider multi-disciplinary team (of consultants, nurses, and administrative support) and my clinical knowledge also gave me a rare credibility for the role. As with my clinical experience, I quickly became an expert in the management of national cancer standards and networking across North Central London.
This year, I started a new role as the Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Lead. This role interested me as, in spite of what I would count as a successful career to date, I was very aware that I been subject to some discrimination and prejudices, which have hindered my progression through the NHS.
In the three organisation that I have worked in, I have always tried to seek a senior colleague who I can respect and look up to, but it was becoming apparent that that person might not exist for me.
My decision to leave clinical services was based on my own experience in cancer and that I wasn’t learning anything new, but I also decided that I needed to become the person that I was looking for. I don’t know who said it first, but I kept hearing: “Be the person you needed when you were younger.”
At this moment in my career, I am so excited to be learning something new and applying my knowledge and experience to help drive the agenda for improvement of Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion at North Middlesex University Hospital. Whilst there are disparities and prejudices within the NHS, I feel that we all have an element of privilege in being the people that are needed to help someone in their time of need.
A massive thank you to Shareen for sharing her story with us.
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