Guy's and St Thomas' nurses celebrated as Rising Stars

Monday 18 October 2021

Mercedes and Julia

Two nurses from Guy’s and St Thomas’ have been recognised for their outstanding contribution to nursing.

Mercedes Miguel, a community stroke clinical nurse specialist, and Julia Gangata, a cath lab sister at Harefield Hospital, were named winners of this year’s Rising Star Awards.

The awards are part of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) London’s celebrations for Black History Month. The winners were recognised for championing culture change and acting as role models; educating and mentoring colleagues to create more inclusive and supportive working environments; and for using their own experience to bring about meaningful improvements in services for their patients, particularly patients from a Black, Asian and minority ethnic background. 

Mercedes, from Streatham, supports patients and families as they adapt their home life following a stroke. During the Black Lives Matter campaign, Mercedes worked with the community clinical psychologist and created support groups for staff, to provide education and guidance as well as to help understand the views of Black, Asian and minority ethnic patients. These have continued as monthly support groups.

Mercedes said: “I am humbled to have received the RCN London Rising Star Award. I am very grateful to be working with the community stroke team as we offer and advocate equitable access for all individuals and their families in the community.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our team has worked together and re-organised priorities to ensure patient safety. Each individual on the team has been flexible and adaptable in these circumstances and we continue to look after each other as a family.”

Julia, from Denham in Buckinghamshire, has worked at Harefield Hospital for almost 15 years. She was appointed the department’s debrief champion during the COVID-19 pandemic and was instrumental in implementing improvements to the service. Julia has served as a mentor to numerous junior nurses and nursing students from a Black, Asian and minority ethnic background.

Julia said: “I feel honoured and grateful to have won the RCN London Rising Star Award. To me this award belongs to the amazing cath lab team which embraces diversity and offers equal opportunities to all individuals regardless of race, ethnicity, religious beliefs or sexual orientation.

“Throughout the pandemic, our team has shown a lot of resilience and managed to adapt to the ever-transforming ways of working while putting patient safety and staff wellbeing at the forefront. This is a team that I am proud to belong to, which has learnt to embrace one another, providing the best quality care to our patients.”

Avey Bhatia, Chief Nurse for Guy’s and St Thomas’, said: “I am so proud of Mercedes and Julia for going above and beyond to care for their patients and colleagues during the COVID-19 pandemic. They are wonderful role models who embody our Trust values.”

Last updated: October 2021

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