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Mukhtar Hassan

I always dreamed of working for the NHS.

I come from Somalia where I worked as a general nurse for 4 years and as an admin assistant.

As a nurse I used to assess patients, plan their stay at the hospital, implement doctors’ orders for them and evaluate them. I would report on the condition of the patient and make sure all infections were under control. This is something I really enjoyed.

When I came to the UK in August 2010, I was really worried about the continuation of my career.  I knew that the medical standards of a developed country like UK must be really high. So I went for advice on how and where I could get started. Next Step Career Services suggested I began by volunteering and they told me about the New Beginnings Project at the Volunteer Centre.

New Beginnings helped me understand that my expectations of quickly getting a job as a nurse were a bit unrealistic.  They explained that I could start on a path that would lead to that and they helped me find a volunteering opportunity that was closely related to the practice of nursing. I became a volunteer with Learning for the Fourth Age: an organisation that placed volunteers in care/nursing homes around Sheffield, where we provided learning activities tailored to individual residents’ needs and interests.

I volunteered at Rosebank care home where I helped elderly residents mostly suffering with dementia. I volunteered with Rosebank on and off for one year and really enjoyed it.


This volunteering opportunity really helped me to become more confident and I understood better the UK work environment. It also made me more confident that I could now work in the NHS in a patient care-related role.

I started applying for jobs and in the start it was very difficult. At some points I had to go for factory jobs through agencies but I kept focussed on building my career in the medical field.

Finally I got my job with the NHS.  I am a Domestic Ward Assistant at the Hallamshire Hospital. A key responsibility is infection control, which was part of my duties as a nurse in Somalia.

Without volunteering, it would have been very difficult to get my job, as they needed me to have experience of working in the UK in a patient care-related environment.

I always dreamed of working with the NHS and now I can work my way up bit by bit by combining work with training until I become a nurse again one day. 

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