A refugee nurse - Oltjana's story

Oltjana was forced to leave her home country and in 2012 she claimed asylum in the UK.

Oltjana, tell us a bit about yourself?

I graduated in nursing, after which I worked for six months as a registered nurse on a cardiology ward. However, soon after I was forced to leave my country and in 2012 claimed asylum in the UK. Very quickly I started work in a coffee shop serving customers which was incredibly helpful as it helped me to practice spoken English with a wide range of people.

How did RAGU help you?

After a year in the UK I came to see a Careers Adviser at RAGU and received a lot of help with information about converting my Nursing degree, with career planning and developing a good CV. I also attended lots of training at RAGU, learning about the NHS the policies and culture and about health and social care in the UK.

With RAGU’s support, I took up a job as a Senior Care worker in a residential home. I gained so much from this experience and it helped me to realise the differences in nursing with my own country in terms of ethics, patient care and handling medications, loads of records for all aspects of care. I worked with nurses, doctors and social workers and realised just how important team working is in healthcare. I completed the Care Certificate during this time which was invaluable. We also went through two CQC inspections successfully.

From this experience, I progressed to working as a Health Care Assistant (HCA), in a hospital and began working for the Royal Free Hospital Trust in the endoscopy department, which has given me an excellent understanding of how care is delivered in UK hospitals, following NHS procedures and care pathways.

So, what’s next for you?

My wish to convert my nursing qualification took a positive turn last year when the Hospital Education department encouraged me to enrol on an Overseas Nurses Conversion course at Middlesex University. With support from RAGU, I successfully applied and have started my training, and will continue to study and work so that I can afford the fees. It’s a really good feeling and I have great hopes for my future career as a registered nurse.

RAGU gave me the push towards the NHS. Without them, I would probably still be serving coffee.

A photograph of Oltjana, a refugee nurse.