Posted on Tuesday 26 October 2021
Kofoworola Abeni Pratt
Guy’s and St Thomas’ has launched a new fellowship programme to help address the gap in senior leaders who identify as being from a Black, Asian or minority ethnic background.
The Kofoworola Abeni Pratt Fellowship is open to nurses, midwives and allied health professionals from across the Trust who want to undertake personal and professional development.
The one-year programme includes part-time posts and is based in the Nightingale Academy, which is part of the Chief Nurse's Office. Successful applicants will have the opportunity to work across the organisation, alongside their existing clinical role.
They will lead on projects and work with different groups of people across the Trust, including senior leaders. They will also help to create and deliver a leadership programme for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals from ethnic minority backgrounds.
Named in honour of Kofoworola Abeni Pratt, the first black nurse to work in the NHS, the Fellowship is unique to the Trust. The five fellows will be chosen in December and will begin their new role in March 2022.
Kofoworola came to the UK in 1946 and was the first black student to attend the Nightingale Training School for Nurses at St Thomas’ Hospital.
She became a staff nurse at Evelina London Children’s Hospital in 1952, then a charge nurse at St Thomas’ Hospital the following year.
She returned to Nigeria in 1954 and was initially denied a post as a ward sister because the position was only open for British expatriates. Within 10 years, Kofoworola was appointed matron of the University College Hospital in Ibadan – the first Nigerian to hold the position.
Following the country’s independence, Kofoworola set up a nursing school at the University of Ibadan in 1965, which was the basis for modern nursing practices in the country.
Among her many posts, she became Chief Nursing Officer for Nigeria and was the first black woman to be named Vice-President of the International Council of Nurses.
Avey Bhatia, Chief Nurse at Guy’s and St Thomas’, said: “We know that nurses, midwives and allied health professionals identifying as being from a Black, Asian or minority ethnic background are under-represented at a senior level. We’re taking positive action to create career development opportunities for our staff and the Kofoworola Abeni Pratt Fellowship, which honours a remarkable nurse leader, is a unique opportunity for their personal and professional development.”