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The Medical Sciences Division is celebrating 10 years since its first Athena Swan bronze application, and the first year in which all 16 of its departments have achieved a silver award. The silver award recognises commitment to gender equality, understanding culture and context, and more. Read about our department’s hard work and innovation.

Professor Claire Edwards, academic champion in NDS quotes “The Athena Swan Charter has helped us to better understand our department, and establish new practices to build an inclusive working environment that is supportive for all.”

Mental Health Pilot Project

Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences (NDS) noticed that men were less likely to engage with the topic of mental health and wellbeing, while women were likely to report feeling less comfortable discussing mental health and wellbeing compared with their male colleagues. Below are some of the actions they took:

  • Trained a cohort of Mental Health First Aiders and launched the ‘Wellbeing Support Service’ so that staff can access someone who is trained to listen and signpost them to support. We now run the training annually and have expanded the service to run across two departments. We aim to keep 10% of our department trained as Mental Health First Aiders
  • Devising a mental health and wellbeing policy
  • New pages on our staff intranet providing resources around mental health and wellbeing, including crisis support lines
  • Monthly ‘Wellbeing Wednesday Bulletin’, which gives information, resources and support on specific topics, such as anxiety, depression, bereavement, etc.

As a result of this concerted push 83% of staff felt their health and wellbeing was adequately supported at work, that number increases to 94% when you remove non-answers. 80% of staff are comfortable discussing concerns they may have about their health and wellbeing with their manager. This increases to 92% when removing non-answers.

NDS ranked among the highest three departments in the University for staff wellbeing in the 2021 Staff Experience Survey, and are immensely proud of the impact this focused piece of work has had across the department.

"There still a lot of stigma and fear about talking about mental health problems and severe mental illness and in the workplace either confidentially with a line manager or with colleagues. I think the project is working to create a framework so that staff with mental health problems feel safe and supported whether they choose to disclose their condition to their employer or not. There’s a lot of situations where HR or line managers introduce policies in the office environment which they are not aware have a detrimental impact on people with mental health problems and I’m really pleased that this project will help address that. I find it very difficult to stick your head above the crowd to raise these issues as an individual. I have found taking part in the project really affirming and I feel more comfortable and confident talking about my mental health in the workplace. Although focused on mental health, the mental health policy will provide a lot of benefits to other people with disabilities and health conditions (particularly hidden disabilities)."

A brick wall with a painted sign saying 'How are you, really?' with a quote from John Gilbert "The project is working to create a framework so that staff with mental health problems feel safe and supported whether they choose to disclose their condition to their employer or not." 

NDS Training Fund

NDS created a training fund that allows staff to apply for up to £1000 worth of funding for external training. Any member of staff can join including professional and support staff who are often overlooked in this area, and they encourage those of fixed-term contracts to use it as well, to prepare them to potentially re-entering the job market.

Since its creation, the fund has been used by 19 staff across different roles, 10 of whom are women.

Read testimonials from NDS staff who were successful in applying to the staff training fund

NDS HR Officer Gemma Horbatowski and the quote  

Read about equality, diversity and inclusion activity in the other 16 departments.

Blog posts

Staff Census: We need you!

All Medical Sciences staff are invited to log into HR self-service and ensure their contact, diversity background and disability details are up to date. Between 6% and 27% of staff in the Division are missing their diversity data which makes it difficult to complete statutory reporting, understand or track our population changes and to plan actions around staff diversity and equality – make sure your data is complete today!

Lights, camera, action! My journey into video production

Dr Hannah McGivern provides a 'behind-the-scenes' account of her experience producing the video 'Journey of a QUOD Sample: Donating to Transplant Research', supported by the funds from the University of Oxford Public Engagement with Research (PER) Seed Fund.

Mentoring in practice

NDS has launched a new, interdepartmental mentoring scheme called RECOGNISE. In this podcast, Gemma Horbatowski (HR Advisor) interviews Monica Dolton (Programme Manager and Research Project Manager) about her experiences of mentor-mentee relationships.

Wrap up of 2021

After a brilliant year of hard work and dedication, the SITU team has done some reflection on 2021, focusing on key events, trial progression, and more. Read on to discover how the year 2021 went for the SITU team...

Celebrating Anti-Bullying Week with words of kindness

Keeva Heap, who is undertaking a communications work experience placement at the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences (NDS), shares our words of kindness In honour of Anti-Bullying Week.

Similar stories

Mentoring in practice

NDS has launched a new, interdepartmental mentoring scheme called RECOGNISE. In this podcast, Gemma Horbatowski (HR Advisor) interviews Monica Dolton (Programme Manager and Research Project Manager) about her experiences of mentor-mentee relationships.

Celebrating Anti-Bullying Week with words of kindness

Keeva Heap, who is undertaking a communications work experience placement at the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences (NDS), shares our words of kindness In honour of Anti-Bullying Week.

Celebrating women of NDS

To celebrate 100 years since women were admitted as full members of the University and on the occasion of International Women's Day, a group of inspirational women in the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences (NDS) reflect on their journeys, their place in Medical Sciences and their vision for the next 100 years.

Blog posts

Staff Census: We need you!

All Medical Sciences staff are invited to log into HR self-service and ensure their contact, diversity background and disability details are up to date. Between 6% and 27% of staff in the Division are missing their diversity data which makes it difficult to complete statutory reporting, understand or track our population changes and to plan actions around staff diversity and equality – make sure your data is complete today!

Lights, camera, action! My journey into video production

Dr Hannah McGivern provides a 'behind-the-scenes' account of her experience producing the video 'Journey of a QUOD Sample: Donating to Transplant Research', supported by the funds from the University of Oxford Public Engagement with Research (PER) Seed Fund.

Mentoring in practice

NDS has launched a new, interdepartmental mentoring scheme called RECOGNISE. In this podcast, Gemma Horbatowski (HR Advisor) interviews Monica Dolton (Programme Manager and Research Project Manager) about her experiences of mentor-mentee relationships.