Applications to the Windrush Leadership programme opened on 22 June – the 75th anniversary of the Empire Windrush arriving in England.
The National Health Service was founded less than a month later, and these landmarks in UK history saw the Windrush generation becoming the backbone of our NHS.
To mark this shared anniversary, a Nottingham nurse has told of the impact the Windrush Leadership programme has had on him – both professionally and personally – and urged colleagues to sign up.
“Every session was meaningful and left a mark in my heart as a nurse and aspiring leader,” said Marion Mangalindan, deputy charge nurse at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.
The programme is run by The Florence Nightingale Foundation (FNF) and Health Education England (HEE) and is open to NHS nurses and midwives who are descendants of the Windrush generation or who are from an ethnic minority background.
The docking of the HMT Empire Windrush, carrying 492 passengers from Caribbean countries, in Tilbury, Essex, in 1948, has become a symbol of how migration transformed and UK society. The Windrush generation played a vital role in establishing the NHS, working as porters, orderlies and cleaners. It took around four years for them to be allowed to train as nurses. Even then, the majority were able to train only as State Enrolled Nurses (SENs) rather than State Registered Nurses (SRNs).
The descendants of those Windrush nurses and midwives remain a significant part of the NHS workforce; the Windrush Leadership programme aims to close the gap in career opportunities.
Marion has been a nurse for 15 years, starting in his native Philippines and moving to the UK in 2017.
“I got stranded in the Philippines at the peak of the pandemic, and I gathered other nurses who were in the same situation and created a support system. This experience motivated me to work on my leadership potential to be a transformational leader that inspires people and leads by example and genuine service.”
Fear of a lack of support stopped Marion from using his leadership and management experience in England. The Windrush programme boosted his confidence – and he’s now a deputy charge nurse and clinical nurse specialist for interventional radiology at NUH.
As an alumnus, he gets on-going networking and leadership development opportunities through events, webinars, media engagement and policy thought leadership. He’s also part of the Filipino Nurses Association UK, offering ongoing support to international nurses.
“The programme and my co-alumni’s tales of success and failures boosted my confidence and allowed me to step out my comfort zone. The programme allowed me to connect with nurses and nurse leaders who share my passion, goals and objectives.
“An unforgettable highlight was the Commemorative Service for Florence Nightingale. Just being there with all the other nurses – FNF alumni - was amazing.”
In the week that a 38-strong cohort of international nurses arrived in the UK to join NUH, Marion – who had indefinite leave to remain - has had his application to become a British citizen approved.
“I just returned from a holiday home – the first in three years – and the citizenship was a pleasant present to come back to – I’m delighted and grateful.
“This milestone makes me question why I do what I do. Finally, after more than six years in the UK, particularly Nottingham, I can say that this is truly my home away from home. I am hopeful that I can contribute more to the coming years.”
He’s urging others to register for the programme. “I still vividly remember the joy I felt after getting the email confirming my place on the course,” he said. “Think about where you want to go in our career, what you want to achieve – and apply.
“The greatest failure is the failure to try. Hence, I am congratulating you in advance, and as an FNF alumnus I commit myself in supporting you to the best of my ability.”
Applications for the 2024 Windrush Leadership programme opened on Thursday 22 June and are open until Monday 21 August. The programme starts on 20 February 2024 find out more here - Windrush Leadership Programme - Florence Nightingale Foundation (florence-nightingale-foundation.org.uk)