To mark Black History Month this year, we’re celebrating one of our very own sisters, who has made a great contribution to the NHS in South East London. Angela Ugen is the Lead Midwife for Outpatients at Guys’ and St Thomas’ Trust and has worked in the NHS for more than 35 years. Below, she tells us what inspired her to be a nurse, her passion for tackling health inequalities and her advice for the next generation of black women who want to become nurses.
1. Who or what inspired you to become a nurse?
In my youth, I looked after an elderly woman living in my parents’ home and I believe this is what inspired me to take up a career in nursing and midwifery. I’ve come from a background of nurses, midwives, doctors and other health professionals.
2. How does being a black woman impact the care you give to patients?
As a black woman in leadership, I take my role seriously in raising awareness of the inequalities in health of vulnerable people in society and also for the wellbeing of the staff that care for them. I am passionate about equity, equality, diversity and justice for all.
3. What advice would you give to the next generation of black female nurses?
My advice for the next generation of black nurses and midwifes is to be inspired by past leaders such as Mary Seacole. Despite facing discrimination, racism, and rejection, she held onto her dreams about providing care for wounded soldiers in the Crimean War.
So this is a reminder that in the workplace, you may be treated differently just because of who you are. But you must remember to hold onto your dream, you must remember to reach high, you must aim for your goals despite what anybody says.
And I’ll say it again, reach for your goals, reach high, achieve what you set out to achieve in life. I’m so proud to be part of this sisterhood!