Being a gradual process, Rebecca’s speech hasn’t been affected, but she taught herself how to lipread by the age of 13.
How have Bupa supported you with your hearing impairments in the workplace?
In 2015 Bupa Dental Care arranged for me to have a workplace report completed by Action on Hearing Loss. This was very useful to help others gain an understanding of the daily struggles I have with hearing loss.
I’m unable to use the telephone, leaving all of my communication via email and text. Bupa have made it possible for me to have my 121s via text message which is great, as it always makes me feel involved.
The role of a Practice Manager, much like any other job, can sometimes feel isolating and so the communication between fellow Practice Managers and my Area Manager is important to me. In area meetings, my team always ensure that I can sit somewhere I can ‘see’ the speakers and they will always repeat anything and write notes for me to read.
Not only have they adapted the way they communicate with me, but Bupa take health and safety very seriously.
Just one of the things that they’ve adapted within the practice is the fire alarm system, I have a beacon in my office so if the fire alarm is to go off, I see flashing lights as well as the sound of the alarm.
“As human beings, we tend to adapt to situations; especially when we are young and so that is what I did. I could lip read before I was diagnosed and given hearing aids. They’re a big part of me and they’ve made me who I am today.”
How do your team support each other within the practice?
My team are incredibly supportive and fully aware of my limitations. They often act as my ‘ears’ when necessary and explain in a courteous way when someone asks to speak to me over the telephone and will provide my email address for them to contact me directly.
My hearing loss has definitely made me who I am, and this is apparent when it comes to my management style. I am very much a people person enabling me to read people very well. The team at our practice all have different needs and I’m happy to say that I’m able to support them.
What advice or words of encouragement would you give to somebody with some sort of impairment or limitations that are thinking of joining Bupa Dental Care?
As a company Bupa really do care about the people, we are not just numbers on a spreadsheet. Each and every person employed by Bupa has an important role within the business and we are all made to feel that we matter. There are people from all walks of life, from different countries, with impairments and limitations so you are not alone in your differences. Inclusion is key.
Bupa Dental Care has so much to offer people. There are so many different opportunities at the company and the Learning & Development team are constantly working to ensure that people can progress internally with the highest standard of relevant training.
What attracted you to the Operation Management Academy, and what do you feel you’ve gained from this experience?
From a personal perspective, I have always pushed myself to be “better” and often choose a road that isn’t easy, almost to prove to myself that I am capable & that my disability isn’t going to define me.
The OMA was very much a personal journey for me… the one stand-out thing I have gained from the experience is confidence in my ability. It really was a journey of self-discovery. At times quite emotional and always reflective but definitely a journey worth taking.
What advice would you give to others thinking of progressing their career and taking on courses like this?
Bupa offers a wide range of course that help their people develop. Given, I, myself benefitted from an internal Bupa course, I have encouraged my team to do something for themselves too.
Do you feel that the course was accessible for yourself, and how did Covid affect this?
Yes, it was an accessible course. We did have to make some drastic changes to the way the course was run because of Covid. Initially, there was a break in learning, and when we restarted the course the whole thing had to be done via Microsoft teams; which initially felt quite daunting but I was able to adapt to this new way of learning & take away as much as possible from each session.
Teams allows for auto generated captions to be used during all sessions & this was invaluable to me; especially as the guest speakers and even some of my fellow delegates, have different accents and the men, facial hair. All of which for a person with a severe hearing loss, can cause them to have difficulty lip reading.
We take the wellbeing of our people very seriously, with many initiatives across our business to ensure we provide a supportive and inclusive workplace.
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