Sunitha Narayan shares her experiences of starting a journey as a physio in the UK
When I was asked to write this piece I was excited; soon followed by anxiety – what do I share with you in just a few words?
Should I share my love for India? Talk, with my mouth watering, about its food? Chat about the welcoming and trusting nature of its people?
I could take a different tack and tell stories of a young girl brought up in a strict patriarchal society that cultivated a fierce independent feminist streak. Or I could describe her struggles of fitting in to a new life in the UK.
All of it is relevant; all of it is also irrelevant.
I choose to share the kindness shown to me when I started at Portsmouth. The support my team provided made a real difference to me starting my journey as a physiotherapist in the UK.
There were a few “faux pas” along the way but over gruelling work days, nights out, on-calls, and all the times in between we bonded. They began to understand my culture better and vice versa.
We made genuine connections and knowing that my team truly accepted me, made it easy for me to challenge covert and overt racism, at the workplace, in the community and even at national steward conferences.
Although I spoke English, I had a lot to learn about British culture. I missed my parents, my food and felt very lonely at times but with my new colleagues we shared our lives and I was able to be my authentic self at work.
I ask you to take a moment to reflect on what makes you unique and what unites us all. Without the kindness of others; my journey would not have been as happy or fulfilling.
We are a caring profession but think of those colleagues who are different from you and for whom the kindness of strangers can be an enormous light, then together we can be better individuals and physiotherapists.
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