Black History month is the perfect opportunity to showcase the dedication, commitment and passion our BAME communities contribute to the NHS and the delivery of compassionate care.
This year, we are shining a light on our BAME nurses. Inspired by the legacy of Mary Seacole, we really want to celebrate the added value diversity brings to supporting our nursing workforce to help services reach into the very heart of all our communities with dignity, pride and inclusivity.
Did you know that after the Crimean War Seacole’s reputation rivalled Florence Nightingale’s?
Mary Seacole was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1805. As a young girl Mary learned about medicine from her mother who was a practitioner of traditional Jamaican medicine. Mary travelled widely and worked treating cholera in Panama.
Mary travelled to London and heard about the Crimean War, she made many applications to work as a nurse, including to work as one of Florence Nightingale’s assistants but all of these applications were turned down.
This left Mary with no choice, she packed a stock of medicine and along with a relative opened a general store and hotel near the British camp in Crimea where she nursed the sick and aided the wounded.
Mary’s drive and spirit is still celebrated today with the NHS Mary Seacole leadership programme, which creates the healthcare leaders of the future. Members of our team have participated in and benefited from the Mary Seacole programme.