Melrose is a community nurse at the Hospice. As part of Black History Month, she spoke to us about her career, experiences, and her path to nursing.

Nursing is an incredible career path for many reasons; helping people, job security, flexibility and opportunity for growth and continuing education. Nursing however, is not at all glamorous.

Working as a registered nurse can be incredibly challenging. Working unsocial hours, public holidays and on night shifts can be physically, emotionally and mentally exhausting. Patients and families are not always pleasant to nurses and sometimes nurses are not supportive to each other. Let’s face it, there aren’t many jobs as stressful as watching over the lives of other human beings. There are few careers as selfless, honorable and rewarding as becoming a nurse. I will always be grateful for a set of skills that can truly help others and the endless opportunities that affect individuals, communities and the world.

Over the past twenty five years I always taken my role seriously.

What I do know for sure is that nursing has not only allowed me to care for my patients, but it has also given me the space to care for my own wellbeing.

My path to nursing

My path to nursing was not a straight line, but let’s be honest, whose journey is? It was a real privilege attending an all girls’ vocational school in Africa and having the opportunity to spend time in a hospital setting. This inspired me to think of what I wanted to do with my life from a young age. I enjoyed my role within this setting and became more joyful when I made an impact in someone’s life.

Black History Month, highlights the achievements made by black people throughout the years. Then it is forgotten at the end of the month, when we return to the ‘SAME OLD.’ I believe that the remembrance of black people should encompass these achievements that many have made, and be remembered equally like any other history that is celebrated by the masses.

Every day we (as black nurses) go to work, we take our roles seriously. However, we are confronted on a regular basis, by people who don’t appreciate us because of who we are: our cultural identity is either mocked or discarded rather than accepted. We strive through hundreds of hurdles, we skip, we jump, we swim and we keep smiling. We learn, we grow, we move forward a few steps down the line and we bounce back. We are RESILIANT! We forget after few months. Nothing ever changes, we are still rocking the same cradle of Mary Seacole after so many years. History always repeats itself.

Nursing is a way of life and forever I am part of that Tribe!!

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