“Patients did not want the ‘Black nurse’ to look after them.”
The harrowing words of a Black mental health nurse who came to the UK from Jamaica in the 1960s to help support the NHS
And today as part of Black History Month her daughter, Tricia Morrison - following in her mum’s footsteps here at NHSCFA - shares her story to help protect the footprint of Black NHS history.
My parents, Pearl and Ambrose, met and married in the UK in 1965. They independently came to this country in the early sixties from Jamaica, despite coming from the parish of St Elizabeth in Jamaica they met for the first time in Rugby.
My mum answered the call to come to the Mother Country and work for the NHS. She was training to be a teacher in Jamaica following a distinguished family tradition but felt she could make a bigger difference working for the NHS.
As was common in those days she was steered towards the 'specialisms nobody wanted to do' and developed her career as a Registered Mental Health nurse. She was a natural with people and loved her career. I have many fond memories of going into town with Mum and strangers stopping her in the street to thank her - often with tears in their eyes.
Sadly, mum did face overt racism throughout her career and sometimes patients did not want the 'Black nurse' to look after them. She dealt with it in her own way and would put a brave face on it.
There was covert racism which was very subtle and she knew sadly there was a glass ceiling for her in her career but always encouraged myself and siblings to break through and to reach our potential whatever that might be.
My parents, who are now in their eighties, are still my greatest cheerleaders and heroes who have instilled in me a realism about the world, a strong work ethic, to never give up, the importance of education and integrity.
Tricia is Director of Performance and Improvement at NHSCFA and is an advocate for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.
Follow us on socials as we share the stories of our workforce all throughout #BlackHistoryMonth.
For more information about Tricia and her role within the NHSCFA check out her bio
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