People's History of the NHS


Portrait of Janice Barrett

I came here as an immigrant (from Jamaica). I am currently working for Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust. I’m based at Sandwell accident and emergency department.

I started my career at Walsall Nursing and emergency. I’ve been in nursing for twelve years. I am currently a band seven and the paediatric lead nurse at Sandwell A&E. I am dual qualified, which means that I’m a registered nurse as well as sick children's’ nurse, so I’m an RN and I’m an RSCN.

I’m currently doing an education programme to become an emergency nurse practitioner, with the aim of doing a Masters.

I am from the BME (Black Minority Ethnic) community…

It’s been a cultural … change; an adapting of cultures to be able to work effectively in a different society and to be able to care for people holistically so that took some getting used to.

… It’s challenging, being a member of the BME group of nursing… it has its advantages for sure, because having lived somewhere else, being open to other cultures; you develop an understanding of people and the differences of people. Being BME is a very positive difference. It allows you to know people. It has its issues but it’s not always necessarily a negative. It’s very good in terms of being able to understand people and care for people.

I trained here in England. I went to what was then the University of Central England which is now Birmingham City University. I am currently at Wolverhampton University doing my emergency nurse practitioner course. So I’ve been to two different universities whilst being here.

I was a mature student, I’ve since gone on to have two children and I’ve progressed reasonably well, even though I had a late start in comparison to others I suppose.

Having been somewhere else, having lived somewhere else, having had other career experience has been, I think, useful. I came from a finance background so originally as a young adult I traded foreign exchange in my own country with an investment bank and those are skills that I have taken intro nursing, especially being a nurse manager.

As a student I never worked in A&E, I never had a rotation in A&E, I just knew I wanted to do! I eventually had the opportunity to do so and I’ve not looked back. I can’t foresee wanting to do anything else but I’m open to new challenges.

All photographs copyright of Inès Elsa Dalal © 2019 Commissioned by Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, 2018. No photographs or text may be referenced or published elsewhere, without prior permission.

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