International nursing case study – Randy Agbodo

International nursing case study – Randy Agbodo

We spoke to Randy Agbodo, 34, a mental health nurse from Ghana who we helped place at Antelope House in the Acute Mental Health Unit within Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust.

Hi Randy, could you tell us what it’s like working in Ghana compared to the UK?

“Back in Ghana, I worked in a remote part of the country in the Upper West Region. It comes with challenges as far as access to services are concerned and even access to physical health services, which the Government spends most of its resources on.

“It’s even more difficult accessing mental health services which receive minimum attention.That’s the nature of working there compared to working in the UK where the Government prioritises expenditure on mental health.

“I think policies are much more effective in the UK compared to Ghana. However, ethics, professional competence and how things are done are similar.”

What’s the thing that’s surprised you most about British life?

“What’s surprised me the most is the issue of patient’s rights.

“I’ve worked in a very remote part of Ghana and have seen the highest forms of abuse you can imagine.

“People who have mental illnesses back home have endured being kept in chains, locked up and denied food without any access to medicines.  

“Patients in the UK are well fed, receive monthly benefits and access to medicines. Patients know their rights and know what sections of the mental health act they’re under and what rights come with those sections. Those are the things that have surprised me in my first few months in the UK.”

Why have you relocated to work here in the UK?

“Relocating to the UK had been on the cards since the first time I visited the UK in 2014. I was involved in a partnership with an NHS project which opened my eyes to a different kind of system. Services are well run, rights are respected, protected, and fulfilled. I always wanted to come back and work in a system like that.  

“You have the opportunity for growth and you can develop yourself better. When you have access to opportunities that’s when you can really achieve the things you want.

“I’ve been working for about 10 years now. As well as mental health care, I’ve also had experience in the hospital, in the community, and at the highest regional level.

“After a decade, I’ve learned a lot, developed over the time and achieved some goals and I felt it was time to try something different.”

What’s it like working at Southern Health?

“I think one of their core values at Southern Health is people first. Right from the day I stepped foot in this country, I’ve always felt my needs have been placed first.

“At Southern Health, I’ve personally felt what it means to put people first and they’ve been extremely supportive right from the word go and they still are supportive.”

Have you got any family and friends over here? 

“I’ve got a lot of friends and family in the UK, so I’ve not just been by myself. I’ve had support even in these difficult times of Covid-19 with restrictions on social interactions.

“Where I work in Southampton, I have a lot of friends who are here. I’ve had a lot of support since I’ve arrived.”

What do you like doing in your spare time?

“I think that during this period, spare time has been hard because of the lockdown situation. If you have any spare time, it will be indoors.

“I haven’t really enjoyed spare time. I’d prefer to be at work and interact with patients than to be at home and be bored. On the two days I’m off during the week, I catch up with family and social media and make phone calls or surf the internet.”

How do you see your career progressing?

“There are a lot of opportunities within the NHS. I’m still looking at what I want to do. Sometimes you have loads of opportunities are you’re spoiled for choice and you don’t always know what to do.

“I’m still settling into a new country and have been here for three months now. When I’ve found my feet and feel settled, I’ll look for opportunities around career progression.”

What advice would you give someone who wants to migrate to the UK?

“People are different and they have different dreams and goals. But if you’re out there and want to relocate to the UK, it’s a fantastic decision and I would gladly recommend that they go for it, so long as it’s what they want to do.”

How did you hear about Migrate?

 “I actually heard of Migrate through a cousin of mine. My cousin referred me to Migrate and that’s how I got to know of Paul, Keith and the entire team.”

What’s the support been like from Migrate?

“I enjoyed the support from Migrate. Most of the communication was carried out virtually. The team, particularly Paul, were in touch through WhatsApp and Zoom. If Paul needed me to submit any documents, he sent me a shout on WhatsApp.

“I think beyond Migrate, we became friends and could talk about other things. We shared common interests and talked about football. It was easy and I really felt the support I needed when arriving in a new country and had a feeling of what to expect before I arrived.”

Was there anything that you think could have been improved?

“Not anything that comes to mind. The team were brilliant. Some other people might have issues butI think Paul and Keith did a fantastic job. Overall, I am extremely satisfied with the support I’ve received and I will be making recommendations.”

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