This week for National Inclusion Week, we celebrate diversity and actions colleagues have taken to create a more inclusive workplace.
Each month, the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Royal Sussex County Hospital proudly host ‘Country of the Month,’ celebrating different countries and encouraging teams to gather and enjoy food, facts, and traditions from around the world.
The ICU team care for patients who are extremely sick and need constant close monitoring and support. To care for these patients is a diverse team of colleagues from around the world.
Having had an influx in international recruitment, the team has grown in members from Nigeria, the Philippines, and India, as well as welcoming Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish staff. As an immensely diverse group, the critical care team wanted to ensure staff felt welcomed and everyone could learn and experience what other cultures have to offer.
This monthly theme offers the opportunity to celebrate the nationalities that make up this brilliant team and the delicious cuisine from their home countries too.
As well as tucking into delicious food and decorating the staff room with colourful flag bunting, the month is also an opportunity to learn more about these countries and their colleagues. This includes learning phrases from that country’s native language and having a map of baby photos to guess where people are from.
This event brings the team together, with all roles from across the department encouraged to take part, from housekeepers and physios to nurses and doctors, whom are under no pressure to cook up a storm.
‘Country of the Month’ stemmed from the team hosting an ‘ITU Bake Off’ during the pandemic, organised by Angie Mitchell, Critical Care Nurse Team Leader, as a way of cheering everyone up during this challenging time. Packed with fun, it produced a high standard of baking and became hugely competitive as the team battled for Bake Off victory. One consultant even spoilt the team with homemade bread, cheese, and jam.
Lucy Pitt, Matron for Critical Care said: “ITU Bake Off really brought us all together over food through a very tough time. Taking the food element forward, we are continuing to bring people together over great food, but we now get to experience what people make at home and the traditions of where they’re from.”
“It’s not just about food but about the culture as well. People are proud of where they are from and we couldn’t run our department without international staff, so we want them to feel welcomed, proud, and excited to share their culture with us.”
To launch Country of the Month, the team spotlighted the Philippines. With a high population of Filipino staff across the Trust, even colleagues from outside of the team were eager to take part and set an extremely high standard in cuisine.
The British Isles also took front stage, as staff offered up some classics as part of the Great British Beige Off. A choice of the finest beige delicacies was laid out, including pork pies, quiche, and Swiss rolls. The team even banded together to deliver a full English breakfast, each bringing an element of the breakfast dish for everyone to enjoy.
Having already celebrated the Philippines, Italy and the British Isles, September is putting Portugal in the spotlight and the team have already been treated to some tasty pastéis de nata – Portuguese custard tarts – and are excited to taste what else their Portuguese colleagues can deliver and learn more about their home country.