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How Emotional & Cultural Intelligence is paving the way in the NHS... BHAIS making a difference


“They may forget your name, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” ~Maya Angelou~

In Early February, I had the pleasure of delivering my Emotional & Cultural Intelligence workshop with a team of healthcare advocates based at the Newham Hospital site of Barts Health NHS Trust.


After an initial conversation and overview with Malika Atoussi, Head of Bilingual Health Advocacy and Interpreting Service (BHAIS), herself an Arabic and French speaker, she commissioned me to run a workshop with her team of 20 health advocates, outlining the diversity of their roles and, the cross cultural interaction they have on a daily basis within their job roles with patients and their family members, clinicians, colleagues and networking partnerships and communities they work collaboratively with. She felt it would be good developmental initiative; for them to explore Emotional and Cultural Intelligence within their working environment as healthcare advocates and interpreters for the patients, their families, collaborating with consultants, wider clinical and non-clinical networks and commissioning bodies.



The advocates were from different ethnic backgrounds and, between them spoke 18 different languages and dialects; essential in the roles they undertake as interpreters on a daily basis within the healthcare arena and, the wider community.

As part of their training, each participant completed an Emotional Intelligence Skills Assessment Profile (EISAP), which gave them insight into their skills around Emotional Intelligence as well this knowledge download, they were also introduced to the concept of Cultural Intelligence and, how these nuggets of knowledge can be woven into their knowledge, skills and expertise within their job roles and, their daily lives.


We explored many scenarios that had occurred within the communities they served as NHS health advocates and, found that if the same scenarios were approached with a more EQ & CQ understanding, the outcome would definitely have been a more positive experience and conclusion as, some conversations were quite hard and, somewhat distressing so, the much welcomed knowledge download was already at work, in synergising the EQ and CQ concept with the current skillsets of this group of participants.


I have a saying... Emotional Intelligence is in Everything We Do! That is a fact. The knowledge of Emotional and Cultural Intelligence is great, because there is information readily available at your fingertips. You can read about it on the internet, through books, published articles and academic papers. This is all great but, unhelpful if you do not know how to apply its principles to your working life and social settings. Being aware of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and Cultural Intelligence (CQ) is one thing but, it is a whole different story when you embark on a journey to apply what you know, with what you do! Being #EISavvy is recognising and applying EQ and CQ principles and, weaving them into the fabric or your organisation, business or your skillset, will expand your journey, mindset and creativity as you explore and combine your current experience, skills and innovation. It doesn’t stop there, this is an ongoing Journey to Empowerment for a lot of people and, as a result of this training, I received a glowing testimonial and a lovely heart-warming letter of appreciation from the manager. My approach to EQ and CQ is unique. I endeavour to share my knowledge giving others the opportunity to learn, understand and synergise this with their already acquired skills, where they can really change the way they navigate through life and business.


Excerpt from feedback on training event:

This fast growing concept, is transferable to any organisational infrastructure or industry group and, would only enrich the culture and ethos, ensuring a more equitable understanding, mindset and behaviour of the workforce when difficult situations, crucial conversations or organisational change initiatives were taking place.


I recently had the pleasure of delivering a keynote presentation at the 11th Annual Vascular Dementia Conference in Paris. There were some great speakers and workshops that took place on the day. i felt totally at home delivering my presentation on "Maintaining Emotional Intelligence and Well-being of Dementia Care Management Staff."

It was well received, so much so, that I was asked to do a podcast by one of the other presenters; who was a dementia care home manager, with over 20 years nursing experience. The presenter was from Australia. She shared her experiences within the care home environment and, especially how they are currently dealing with creating a support infrastructure for carers, care-givers and family members. She was really interested in how emotional and cultural intelligence could make a difference within the community, especially, those dementia patients, who don't readily have access to service provisions within a hospital environment. Being a natural knowledge sharer, I gave her insight into how emotional and cultural intelligence has really made a difference within the Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) community, especially having run training sessions with the carers and care-givers of dementia patients and their family members. This was invaluable, as it really highlighted the approach and knowledge one needs to have and, more to the point, be mindful of within the varied ethnic backgrounds cultures and traditions. There are currently case studies being compiled to further embed the emotional and cultural concept and training across this community.


I'm looking forward to running more of these workshops and, more to the point, looking forward to organisations getting 'switched on' to the EQ / CQ principles and, start looking at integrating this concept into their programmes of work thus enabling a more emotionally intelligent workforce.


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