We enjoyed the most incredible day at our inaugural International Nursing and Midwifery Associations Event. It was humbling and thrilling to have so many nurses and midwives from ethnic minority backgrounds together for the first time with the Florence Nightingale Foundation and NHS England/Improvement teams. These remarkable international nurses and midwives have brought so much passion and commitment to their work in the NHS; it was wonderful and uplifting to see their amazing camaraderie.
Academy Deputy Director Lucy Brown opened proceedings before introducing NHS England and NHS Improvement’s International Recruitment and Ethnic Minorities Nurse Advisor Jennifer Caguioa. Jennifer shared profound thoughts on the contribution that ethnic minority staff have made and are making to the NHS, reflections which were warmly received.
She was followed by FNF Academy Chief Executive Professor Greta Westwood who paid tribute to the sacrifices and stamina shown by our overseas nursing and midwifery colleagues. Greta made a solemn promise that FNF would offer them the opportunity to grow and develop as leaders through scholarships and leadership programmes.
Next to speak was Deputy Chief Nursing Officer for England Duncan Burton who gave a keynote address. Duncan shared his pride in the phenomenal work that the INMAs are doing in the NHS and gave the room food for thought with quotations from influential figures such as Maya Angelou.
The event moved on to the poster presentations. Five INMAs – the Malawian UK Nurses Association, the Caribbean Nurses and Midwives Association UK, the Filipino Nurses Association UK, the Hong Kong Nursing Association UK and the Philippine Nurses Association UK – had all been shortlisted by FNF for their outstanding poster designs. Now each INMA had the opportunity to talk through their poster and the work that had inspired it. It was left to the invitees to choose and vote for the most impressive – a task they mulled over as they lunched.
Following lunch, all the INMAs joined a workshop session, debating their successes, learnings, impact and sustainability. Each group shared their inspirational ideas and reflections with the room; the next step is for all of us to develop those ideas and turn them into reality.
Meanwhile, the votes for the posters had been counted and the results were in. Most Outstanding Poster Presentation was won by the Filipino Nurses Association UK while Most Outstanding Pastoral Support was awarded to the Philippine Nurses Association UK. Jennifer Caguioa handed out her own award for Most Engaged INMA to the Philippine Nurses Association UK.
A final speech from Professor Greta Westwood and some fizz rounded up what was a truly warm and wonderful day. We can’t wait to celebrate our INMAs again soon.