A DEAF nurse who has been petitioning for disabled awareness in the NHS has been awarded the British Empire Medal.

Joanne Mohammed, who worked at Royal Blackburn Hospital for more than 20 years, has received the award in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to nursing and to disability awareness.

Joanne herself is profoundly deaf, and has been since the age of six. She wears hearing aids and through COVID, identified barriers to engaging in virtual events.

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After writing her seminal blog in 2018, she has found her voice and confidence to work with senior leadership, peers, and social media to build allies for sustainable change with peers across the nursing and healthcare communities.

Speaking about her award, Joanne said: “Initially, I was surprised when the letter came through the door.

“Obviously I am thrilled and quite excited to receive it.

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“Deaf health care professionals have had a really tough time over the past years especially with communication because of PPE and masks.

“The nomination was around the awareness since my work in 2018 when I started raising the profile of deaf nursing nationally.

“I have spoken to school pupils and showed them that me, as a person who is deaf can have a career in the NHS.”

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The 51-year-old, who now works at Royal Bolton Hospital, has been the inspiration and determined force that has resulted in solutions for those with invisible disabilities.

In particular, she has been petitioning for the procurement of face masks with transparent panels to enable effective lipreading for both the workforce and patients too.

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As a Registered Nurse this extraordinary achievement has developed the approach to inclusion within her previous organisation at East Lancashire NHS Foundation Trust and also significantly at national level to unite people who had previously been working in isolation as often the only healthcare professional who is deaf in their local organisation.

She delivered a number of interactive sessions to specialist schools sharing her learning and inspiring young people to consider a career in nursing, giving them hope the regardless of their disability, they too can have a successful career and make a real difference.