Two nurses at Guy’s and St Thomas’ have been given awards for their work as part of Black History Month, writes Kit Heren…
The Rising Star awards are given to black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) workers by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) as part of its celebration of Black History Month, which always falls in October.
The awards celebrate people who give a voice to staff and patients, empower themselves or encourage others to take action, and who show compassion, innovation, and leadership, the RCN said.
Guy’s and St Thomas’ Grace Milner, a clinical nurse specialist for plasma cell disorders, and Deon Irozuru, a staff nurse in the endoscopy unit, were among the prize winners this year.
Grace said: “It’s an honour to accept the award. Throughout my career I have strived and continue to raise the profile and give a voice to those with a rare blood cancer that disproportionately affects members within our community.
“Representation and inclusivity are important. Seeing ourselves reflected in images and stories we read has a positive impact. People feel seen and validated.
“Using my position in the trust and wider community, I have worked to help transform the service we provide to ensure accessibility and visibility for all. I am proud to be a nurse and work within Guy’s and St Thomas’, and promote equality and representation through my practice.”
The RCN said it had received more nominations for awards than ever this year.
Deon said that he was “excited” and “glad” to have recognition for his work.
“It’s great to be rewarded for the role I played in response to the pandemic,” he added. Being redeployed to support my fellow colleagues both on the ward and in my department was unforeseen, but I was willing to step into the role and do whatever was required of me during these testing times.
“Winning this award has encouraged me to continue working hard, serving patients, and supporting my colleagues in whatever way I can and to strive to be the best in what I love and enjoy doing.”
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said: “I want to congratulate all the winners for their outstanding work in providing compassionate and innovative healthcare to Londoners.
“Nursing staff from Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic backgrounds have played a crucial role in caring for Londoners during this incredibly challenging year, and it’s vital that we celebrate their work. They are an inspiration to us all and I hope their work encourages even more Londoners into nursing.”
RCN Regional Director for London, Lisa Elliott, said: “Our Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic nursing community play a vital role in caring for Londoners. The expertise and professionalism shown by our Rising Stars represent nursing care at its best as well as demonstrating the unique contribution our BAME nursing community in London makes.
“However, we cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that there is still a huge amount of work to do to ensure our nursing colleagues from BAME backgrounds have the same opportunities as others. RCN London is committed to taking a leading role in promoting the voice of the BAME nursing community in the capital and challenging employers where poor practice exists.”