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Nurses come together to mark international efforts at hospital

Nurses from across the world have come together in a reunion event to mark their time working at a city hospital.

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Mayor of Wolverhampton Dr Michael Hardacre and Prof Loughton with the nurses

Wolverhampton’s international nurses were told healthcare leaders must go the extra mile to support them because of their commitment to come and work here following the first official reunion in their honour.

Professor David Loughton CBE, group chief executive of The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust (RWT), praised the efforts of the hundreds of nurses from countries including Nigeria, the Philippines, Kenya, Ghana, India and the United States who have settled in the city.

They have taken advantage of a recruitment scheme called the Clinical Nursing Fellowship (CNP) programme to fill permanent roles at RWT after a landmark decision on December 1, 2005 to stop using agency nurses.

More than 50 international nurses attended the event on November 21 held in the Wolverhampton Medical Institute at New Cross Hospital and all were presented with medals and certificates from Professor Loughton and the Mayor of Wolverhampton, Councillor Dr Michael Hardacre.

Professor Loughton said: “The team here is second to none. We have to go that extra mile to support you educationally and personally because you have done that with us, so I thank you for all you have done.

“Take every opportunity because that’s the way you will succeed.”

In a passionate address, the Mayor quoted Florence Nightingale and Mother Theresa among others and thanked the nurses for uprooting their lives and nursing those “fighting a battle”.

He said: “We came here to better ourselves while serving others and that is a noble motive.

“Nothing will work unless you do; success has come about through your training and you’re to be admired as the best of the best.”

Four international staff nurses gave accounts of their time so far at RWT in Maureen Peter-Dike and Olagoke Okimi from Nigeria, Bernard Heerse from Ghana and Branice Munialo from Kenya.

Maureen is now a practice education facilitator with the OSCE Team helping other international nurses progress, while 38-year-old Olagoke is on the Ward C8 Dialysis Unit, 33-year-old Bernard works on Ward A14, and Branice works on Ward A7 Gastro.

Maureen was one of the first three nurses to come through the CNP after it was introduced at RWT in 2018 and proudly told the room she has been here for four years, seven months and 16 days.

She has gone on to be voted as a finalist in the Nursing Times Workforce Summit and Awards in the Overseas Nurse of the Year category, while in 2021, she was voted International Nurse of the Year by the Black Country and West Birmingham NHS Trusts and was a GWG Healthcare Hero Award winner.

Now 29, she has settled in Wednesfield with husband Chinedu Ndegbu, a senior surgical fellow at RWT, and they had daughter Michelle-Janice at New Cross Hospital in 2021.

Maureen, who started on Ward C21 Stroke Unit and has since followed her passion for teaching, said: "“I believe my story represents how dreams can become reality.”

Videos of appreciation were shown from Ward Managers, while Martina Morris, deputy chief nursing office representing Debra Hickman, read out the chief nursing officer’s address.

Advice was available at stands hosted by the Health and Wellbeing Team and HSBC Bank, which supports the international nurses.

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