Opinion

Honouring BME leadership and development

With just weeks left to apply for the Mary Seacole Awards 2018-19, we look back at how these awards were born and the efforts of last year’s winners.

Mary Seacole Awards

Since 2004, the Mary Seacole Awards have been recognising outstanding individuals in the healthcare sector whose projects have made a real difference in the black and minority ethnic (BME) community.

The awards were first introduced by the Department of Health in honour of Mary Seacole (1805-81), a Jamaican-Scottish nurse who became a heroine for her work bravely nursing soldiers during the Crimean War. Today, the awards are funded by Health Education England – in association with Unite, the RCM, the RCN and Unison, with support from NHS Employers – and the final countdown has begun for applications for this year’s 2018-19 awards.

Open to nurses, midwives and health visitors doing outstanding work in their fields, the awards are divided into development and leadership categories. Development awards are more suited to those at the beginning of their service/research development career, to increase an individual’s capabilities in shaping the health of BME communities.

Leadership awards are about much more than personal endeavours, they also require the individual to influence developments and changes within their area of work at a service, policy or educational level, involving not just their own professional activities but those of others.

One of last year’s winners included Dorcas Gwata, a clinical lead at the Integrated Gangs Unit for Westminster CAMHS at the Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust. She won a leadership award for her role in improving mental health interventions for adolescents from African and Middle Eastern backgrounds who are affected by gang culture and are vulnerable, violent and exploited in Westminster.

  • The closing date for entries is 5pm on 5 May 2018.
  • To take part, visit nhsemployers.org/maryseacole, or email governance.support@rcn.org.uk
  • You must be registered with the NMC and work in a publicly-funded healthcare service in England to apply.

Picture credit | Shuttershock

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