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Morecambe nurse shortlisted for two top awards

Cherish Otoo

A nurse from Morecambe has been shortlisted for two prestigious awards.

Cherish Otoo has been shortlisted for the 'Most Inspirational Nurse' and the 'Mary Seacole Award' for her outstanding contributions to diversity and inclusion.

Cherish, a newly-qualified nurse at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, has been nominated in the two categories in the Nursing Times Student Awards.

The 33-year-old mum said she was "honoured to have been nominated".

"I love the career opportunities that nursing provides and the fact that every day is different," she said.

"I am inspired by the resilience and courage of my fellow colleagues and the nurturing support that they have given me throughout my nurse training when I was part of a workforce on multiple wards in the hospital on placements, and then through my preceptorship in the Emergency Department (ED).

“I always ensure that I am acting in a way in which promotes non-discriminative practice and I have a passion for patient-centred care, ensuring that the wishes of patients are always met with dignity and respect. I go home from work knowing that I have given every patient the best care that I can deliver and I receive huge job satisfaction from that.”

Cherish, who had previously worked for the Morecambe Bay health trust in a non-clinical role, was one of the first people in the UK to enrol and qualify as a nurse through the University of Cumbria’s Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeship programme, which was the first of its kind in the country when it launched in 2018. On graduating, Cherish secured a nursing role at the RLI’s ED.

Cherish said: “The apprenticeship scheme opens opportunities for people who wouldn't usually have the opportunity to become nurses. There is no way I would have been able to quit my full-time job and go to university, and train to be a nurse through the traditional pathway. I think that everyone who can have the opportunity to get on the apprenticeship should absolutely do it. It's a life changing experience that the Trust is offering.

“Diversity in nurses within the NHS brings innovation and provides patients with an inclusive service, thus promoting and delivering high quality patient care,” she said.

“Recognising and valuing diversity and inclusion is a part of my nursing role where my passion lies. I enjoy connecting with nurses at ground level, and supporting and encouraging the growth of the Trust’s Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Staff Network.

“Whether I am sharing my lived experiences, or advocating for and representing others, my passion for equality, diversity and inclusion is what I find most rewarding and fulfilling.

“I am grateful to all of the BAME Staff Network members for allowing me to be a part of their wonderful group, and to my managers and colleagues who always facilitate my ability to connect and join these meetings.”

Karmini McCann, Head of Culture Transformation for the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT), said: “I would like to thank Cherish for being a true ambassador and driver of change for diversity and inclusion. Cherish is highly articulate and she speaks up for what is right, and for equity and fairness. She raises the voices of her colleagues and shares her own experiences in a way that is always constructive so people listen even when it is difficult to hear.

“Cherish has proactively connected with our anti-racism and other equality programmes, including being an active member of our BAME Staff Network and our anti-racism influencers group. This is something incredibly powerful, particularly as most of the time she has been the representative of her staff group and ethnic background. Cherish also uses social media to raise awareness of equality issues, reaching a wide audience who connect with her in a different way to our more corporate work.

“The impact Cherish has made will have a long-term benefits - raising awareness of equality issues and experiences, supporting the growth of our BAME network, developing our race equality allies and enhancing the knowledge and understanding of colleagues across our entire Trust.”

The Student Nursing Times Awards winners will be announced at a ceremony at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel on Friday May 27.


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