Shaping My Own Opportunities

Posted by: Chloe Norton - Posted on:

Hello! My name is Chloe, and welcome to my first blog! I haven’t really given creative writing a go before so please bear with me! Firstly, how did I get here?

Well it all began 16 years ago, when I decided I wanted to be a vet.  However, I then decided I wanted to a doctor. Then I changed my mind and wanted to be a vet again. At some point I was set on being an architect. I also considered marine biology… But eventually the years passed and I ended up doing Psychology for my undergraduate, which I really enjoyed!  I wasn’t set on having a career in Psychology so I decided to explore my options before deciding on a certain career path.

In my final year of university, I worked as a nursery nurse during university, and was training to be a health care assistant when I came across the scheme. All of the specialisms sounded interesting, but Informatics stuck out to me as it offered the opportunity to work with data, which I’ve always been good at! So, I went for the interview and the assessment centre, and later found out that I had been successful!

However, during the entire summer I was a bag of nerves! I would go to sleep worrying that I wouldn’t be able to cope, and I was pretty sure I was out of my depth!  I was petrified before I started the job – like most of the other graduates I’m sure. However I did have another factor that contributed to my nerves.

I was born profoundly deaf.

I have no issue at all with being deaf;I absolutely love the culture, the language, and all of my amazing friends that I have met at my deaf school. But, I do lack accessibility in the big wide world. There are many things that I don’t find easy, such as meeting someone for the first time (accents are difficult!!!), or listening over the phone (which I can only do with close friends and family). So naturally I was nervous when I turned up to my job for the first time! I had so many thoughts running through my head. ‘Will I understand my colleagues?’, ‘Will I be able to follow conversation?’, and even ‘What if I get stuck in the loo during a fire alarm?!’

But, luckily, all of my colleagues are understanding and take the time to repeat themselves if I miss what they said, and are patient with my constant questioning to ensure I’m doing things right. At first I felt like such a pain, but as I became more settled, confident, and sure of myself, I realise I did the right thing! I had a meeting the other day where I asked people who were sitting by the window to swap seats with me, as the light coming from the window makes it impossible to lip read. Looking back, this was a big step for me, as in the past I would have persevered through it and come out of meetings not knowing what had been said. My confidence has grown in leaps and bounds, and I am realising now how capable of my job I am. Now I am a project manager working on a forecasting tool for the hospital, and I have many more projects lined up! Also, what I’ve also noticed is that I’m not the only one with ‘additional’ needs. During my time here I have come across staff with autism, vision issues, physical disabilities, and so on!

At first, I will admit I did have my reservations about working in the NHS. For me, my patient journey hasn’t been brilliant, and I have been left feeling pretty vulnerable or helpless in hospitals. For example, the audiology departments don’t have a screen that could direct patients to the correct room. Instead patients are expected to wait for their name to be called out!?

However all my doubts have disappeared. The NHS is a lovely place to work, and many members of staff are very open-minded and inclusive. So if you’re worried about your own NHS journey, don’t be (I know this is hard!). Instead, try and focus on how you can shape your own experiences help you develop in a way that works for you.

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