Celebrating women in healthcare on International Women’s Day

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Celebrating women in healthcare on International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day and at Pulse, we’re recognising some of the amazing women in healthcare, past, and present.

We’d like to say thank you to each one of you for the amazing work you deliver every day and for your dedication to the profession. 

Who: Florence Nightingale 

Why: For dedicating her life to helping others 


Born in Italy in 1920, Florence went against what was traditionally expected of her, by becoming a war-hero nurse. 

She was born into a very wealthy family who frowned upon her entering the nursing profession. She moved to London to work before receiving a letter from the Secretary of War asking her to put a team together to look after British soldiers. This was the first time that women had been officially allowed to serve in the army.

When she first arrived in Crimea in November 1854, the army doctors wanted nothing to do with her, but she wouldn’t go away and soon got to work cleaning up the awful conditions and making sure the wounded soldiers were comfortable.

She was welcomed a hero and even Queen Victoria wrote her a letter to say thank you. Florence Nightingale completely transformed the quality of care in war and went on to improve healthcare all over the world.

Who: Shoba Manesh, Band 5 Scrub Practitioner at the University Hospital of South Manchester

Why: For her amazing work following the Manchester arena bombing


Shoba was on duty on May 22. As soon as she heard of the bombing, she began to coordinate with colleagues how best to open the theatres in readiness for the anticipated causalities.

She rang her colleagues to bring in extra staff from home, she set up the teams needed, and ensured that the right resources were available.

Shiba liaised with the surgeons and anaesthetists and, despite the short notice and high pressure, was able to have three emergency theatres running fully staffed; with a fourth theatre on standby.

She went above and beyond her expected duties and responsibilities to achieve this, and acted in support of her colleagues at a time of great stress for all. She was fully professional throughout the night and because of her excellent work, she was awarded women of the year 2017.

Who: The women from the North-West Ambulance Service

Why: For inspiring future generations


Inspirational women who have built a career with the North-West Ambulance Service are visiting hundreds of school children across the region to celebrate International Women’s day with a special motivational talk or workshop.

Women of all ages, with a range of careers from HR Advisors to Community Specialist Paramedics to assembly halls and classrooms throughout the week to inspire school children and share their stories of success.

Director of Organisational Development for NWAS, Michael Forrest, said “Children are the future and we want to showcase how rewarding a career in the ambulance service is. These successful women have helped shape the service into what it is today and we’re hoping that some of the pupils they speak to will be inspired by their success and one day follow in their footsteps.

Who: Jean Namatova, Nursing Officer and Assistant in charge at the Mannya Health Care Centre in Uganda

Why: For her hard work developing a better healthcare system


In 2007, the Cotton on Foundation arrived at Mannya village. Known to be an area rife with HIV/AIDS and deemed “mission impossible” by its local diocese, Mannya was a community in need of help. A lack of education, basic infrastructure and healthcare facilities had led to a village in desperate need of a helping hand.

In 2009 the foundation completed the build of a new healthcare centre, and in 2012, a new maternity ward was opened. Jean has played a vital role in the development of these new healthcare centres and has helped build a better healthcare system in the village.

You can learn more about Jean’s story here.

Who: Marie Curie

Why: For playing a significant role in the development of radiotherapy and X-ray


Marie Curie was a Polish scientist. She was born in the Polish city of Warsaw, but later moved to France where she made an incredible discovery which would change the world.

Along with the help of her husband, the Curies made ground-breaking discoveries about radioactivity and through this work, the Curies announced the discovery of two new chemical elements – polonium and radium.

Their work was used to develop radiotherapy which is used widely today to treat certain illnesses and cancer. These discoveries were also important in developing X-rays, which are vital to hospitals today.

Who: Morvia Gooden, former nurse/midwife and senior programme lead at the NHS Leadership Academy

Why: For her work leading the NHS Leadership Academy and working towards more equality in the NHS

Throughout her career in the NHS, Morvia continuously experienced and witnessed discrimination against black women. In 1988, Morvia applied and successfully became a midwife at a time when black midwives were brought in to support and help build up the NHS however, the treatment she received was shockingly poor.

Last year, 75% of acute trusts reported a large number of black, Asian and minority staff being bullied and the underrepresentation of BAME colleagues is still continuing. A recent report also highlighted that in London, a city where 40% of workforce and patients are BAME, 17 out of 40 trusts had all white boards.

Morvia and the Academy are working hard to drive compassionate, inclusive leadership throughout the NHS by helping BAME colleagues unleash and develop their talents through several programmes while working towards more sustainable inclusive cultures.

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