As we formally kicked off South Asian Heritage Month on 18 July, we are celebrating our diverse workforce in our trust by sharing their vibrant stories and shining a spotlight on their daily lives.
We sat down with Nazleen Ishaq, nutrition coordinator at The James CookUniversity Hospital, to learn more about her role, background and what being ‘South Asian’ mean to her.
What is your job role?
I work as a nutrition coordinator – a new position established at the trust and there are currently two of us in the role.
We work closely with the wards, community hospitals and the catering team to ensure every patient’s nutrition needs are being met.
Tell us something about your family
My grandparents are from Pakistan but all my family are now settled in Middlesbrough. I live with my husband and three young kids – which ensures that my life is busy, but having a big family is truly a blessing.
What does being ‘South Asian’ mean to you?
It also makes them comfortable to ask questions or advice – helping them understand some of their patients better.
How does your South Asian background shape the work you do in the NHS?
I work a lot around food choices, so I like to explore diverse options for our South Asian patients and try to cater to individual needs.
Also, I love hearing different stories from colleagues who are treating patients from the South Asian community, and my background helps me to provide them with some insight into a patient’s cultural beliefs.
This year’s theme is stories to tell; what story would you like to share that makes you proud of both your heritage and working in our trust?
As a member of the allied health professionals’ group, I was asked to be part of a new interactive AHP board in our hospital – this was a proud moment for me as I was promoting my beloved AHP professionals while representing my South Asian community.
This board also enabled me to meet new people from other teams – something I enjoy and helps me to learn about other careers and job roles in the trust.
Being a mum to young kids and being able to work is another proud achievement.
Working for me is important as I have three young children and I would always encourage them to aim for a great career whilst maintaining a strong work/life balance.
What projects have you been currently working on?
I have been working on organising a new AHP support worker forum for our staff.
This will be an informal place for AHP support workers to come together and discuss any issues concerning their roles and share any upcoming events and achievements among colleagues.