A deaf man who is fulfilling his goal of joining the nurse workforce hopes his success story will inspire others with hearing impairments to embark on a career in the health service.
Gary Cutmore said he was proof that barriers could be overcome after he completed a three-week placement as part of his trainee nursing associate course.
“I’ve realised there are no barriers”
In November, Mr Cutmore, from Dagenham, worked at The Royal Star & Garter Homes service in Surbiton where he communicated with people using sign language and an interpreter.
The Royal Star & Garter Homes is a charity founded in 1916 which cares for ex-servicemen and women living with disability or dementia.
Alongside his studies, Mr Cutmore works as a health care assistant in adult deaf services at South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust.
He admitted he felt nervous ahead of his first shift at the charity home, but he said he was made to feel comfortable and soon settled in.
“They have treated me like a normal student and told me things I wanted to know and needed to learn,” Mr Cutmore added.
“I always thought that as a deaf person this would be too much of a barrier. But I’ve realised there are no barriers. I’ve had loads of support and the placement has been fantastic.
“It’s really important to me to show deaf people like me can get involved and support residents,” Mr Cutmore said.
“I’m not different to any other nurse really.
“I hope this helps opens the door for other deaf people to become nurses or qualified associates in the future.”
Many of the residents at The Royal Star & Garter Homes struggle with hearing loss.
The charity’s director of care, Pauline Shaw, said she felt the team had a better understanding of issues that affected people with hearing issues following Mr Cutmore’s visit.
“Like Gary, we don’t think hearing loss should stop anyone from achieving their goals,” she added.
Jean Pierre Foo Kune, Mr Cutmore’s ward manager at South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust, said Mr Cutmore was an “example to us all”.
He added: “We endeavour to fully support and empower all deaf staff throughout their career, ensuring maximum communication support is provided throughout their professional pathway.”