Uma qualifies twice to rise through the ranks at UHSussex

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When Uma Neupane recently became Deputy Ward Manager at Worthing Hospital it was her fifth position in seven years at University Hospitals Sussex, as she’s risen through the bands in her nine year career at the Trust.

And she’s had to work twice as hard to get the qualifications to enable her to do so. Literally.

Uma arrived in England in 2009 from Nepal where she had already qualified as a nurse and had been working in a government hospital.

She came to the UK to study for a post-graduate diploma in Nursing Management at Hammersmith and London College, and following that worked at a Nursing Home in Worthing.

She started work at Worthing as a HCA in 2013, and it was here where her journey to qualifying as a nurse second time around began again.

Uma, 34, who lives in East Preston, said: “My first job was on Brooklands Ward! I loved it. I had worked in the community as part of my course, and then in the nursing home and this was my first in the NHS.

“Although I had already qualified as a nurse in Nepal I had to do so again over here; get maths and English, fill in some learning gaps and then go the University and try and qualify again. That was my dream but I didn’t know if it was really possible.”

In the meantime an opportunity came up in summer of 2015 for an associated nurse practitioner band 4 role.

“This was a jump in progress for me and it a new role in the Trust on the emergency floor at Worthing. I was helping out with so much more and I was really well suited but it was not carried on after the initial nine month trial,” said Uma.

Uma stayed on emergency but back to her old job. This was when she put her dream into action.

She said: “I had enjoyed the extra responsibility and I knew progression was there for me at this Trust, so I thought ‘right, you need to go back to Uni.’

“Firstly I went and did a health and sciences course at City College in Brighton for a year, to help bridge the gap in learning between my diploma in 2010 and this course in 2016.

“Throughout this time I was working on the emergency floor for two days a week. I got a distinction in the course which meant I could go and try for my degree in nursing.”

Uma enrolled at the University of Brighton and came out with her BSc degree in Nursing in February 2020.

Uma said: “I was so happy. The support I had from my colleagues and my managers at the Trust was so great. They always backed me and helped me and this gave me confidence to go for it. With the degree I was able to fulfil more ambitions at the Trust too.”

In anticipation of her qualifying she had a job waiting for her on the emergency floor as a band 5 Staff Nurse and in December 2021 she took on a band 6 role as a practice development sister, helping with newly qualified nurses as a secondment for 6 months.

Six months later she took on her latest role as band 6 Deputy Manager on Eartham Ward, in Worthing.

Uma said: “When I came to the UK I looked forward to the opportunities here and had a dream to become a registered nurse in this country and this Trust has helped me so much, supported me and allowed me to achieve this dream.

“It has been an amazing journey, very tough at times, but I knew I could do it and it shows what can be done if you get the opportunity and then work hard to make it work.

“Going through this whole study journey and work journey has been crazy and without my colleagues and my managers I would not have done it.”

Does Uma recommend UHSussex as a place to work?

“Absolutely. Absolutely. I have had so many opportunities and so much support. I would recommend UHSussex to anyone. I have never had one bad experience here in nine years. From arriving as an HCA to my current position, they have helped me every step of the way.”