Julia Gangata, Harefield cath lab sister, has been announced as one of the winners of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) London’s Rising Star Awards 2021. The awards are part of RCN London’s celebrations for Black History Month, with 14 winners from hospitals across the capital.
The Rising Star Awards recognise nurses and healthcare support workers from London’s Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) nursing community who have made an outstanding contribution to the capital’s health and care system. The theme this year is anti-racism: literacy and transformation.
The winners were recognised for championing culture change and acting as role models; educating and mentoring colleagues to create more inclusive and supportive working environments; and for using their own experience to bring about meaningful improvements in services for their patients, particularly patients from a BAME background.
Julia was nominated by Harefield cath lab manager, Sumesh Thiruthalil, due to her extraordinary devotion throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond; her day-to-day supervision of the cath lab team; the time she dedicated to mentoring BAME junior nurses and nursing students all while embracing and educating colleagues on the importance on equality and diversity.
Sumesh said: “Julia is an amazing individual who is always very approachable. I am overjoyed to have her as a member of our department. She is constantly welcoming and supportive of all of her staff during times of difficulty. She was instrumental in implementing numerous improvements to improve patient safety prior to, and throughout, the pandemic.”
Julia said: “I feel honoured and grateful to have won the RCN London rising star award. To me this award belongs to the amazing cath lab team which embraces diversity and offers equal opportunities to all individuals regardless of race, ethnicity, religious beliefs or sexual orientation. Throughout the pandemic, our team has shown a lot of resilience and managed to adapt to the ever-transforming ways of working while putting patient safety and staff wellbeing first. This is a team that I am proud to belong to, which has learnt to embrace one another, providing the best quality care to our patients."
Peter Doyle, lead nurse and associate general manager of the heart division at Harefield, said: “I am so pleased that Julia has received this richly deserved award. Her positive leadership style is greatly appreciated by her patients and her colleagues in the cath lab. Julia is ideally suited to the high-pressure environment of the labs, where her calm and reassuring approach helps to bring out the best in those around her. Well done Julia!”
Mercedes Miguel, a community stroke clinical nurse specialist from Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, was another one of the 14 winners.
Deputy Mayor for Communities and Social Justice, Dr Debbie Weekes-Bernard, said: “Nurses and healthcare support workers from London’s Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic communities have made an outstanding contribution to the capital’s health and care system and it’s fitting to see so many recognised by RCN London’s Rising Star Awards.
“London has the most ethnically diverse nursing workforce in the country. They are an inspiration and have helped create more inclusive and supportive working environments around the capital. I hope their tireless work, and the incredible difference they continue to make, inspires others to consider a career in healthcare.”
London has the most ethnically diverse nursing NHS workforce in England with the majority of staff coming from BAME backgrounds.1 However, despite initiatives to level the playing field, nursing staff from BAME backgrounds still lag behind their white counterparts in many areas such as career progression and are more likely to face discrimination at work.2
- NHS London, London Workforce Race Strategy Race equality. A better NHS for us all. October 2020. Available here: https://www.england.nhs.uk/london/our-work/equality-and-diversity/london-workforce-race-strategy/
- NHS England, NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard, February 2021. Available here: https://www.england.nhs.uk/publication/workforce-race-equality-standard-2020-supporting-data/