These are the photographs which capture the Windrush generation nurses who have helped to shape the NHS.
They feature in the Here To Stay exhibition, which will be on show at Sandwell Hospital, in West Bromwich from October to mark Black History Month.
The pictures have been taken by photographer Inės Elsa Dalal. Those included in the powerful collection include Jennifer Simpson, whose parents came to the UK in the late 1950s.
Her mother began working for the NHS, starting as a State Enrolled Nurse, and worked her way up to become a senior staff nurse. Jennifer followed in her mother’s footsteps and also became a nurse, working at Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, which runs Sandwell, City and Rowley Regis Hospitals.
“I was quite overwhelmed with getting the post because I had quite a few issues which made me think I wasn’t able to get a job,” explained Jennifer, who is a single mum.
“I went straight into theatres for 18 months, but during that course of time I was so interested and motivated by what I was learning that it triggered a desire in me to want to know more.”
She recalled: “The consultant hadn’t got a junior doctor at that time, the role was very new. So here I was, black, female, and a single parent of a disabled child, pioneering this new role.”
Over time, Jennifer carried out various procedures including peg insertions, as well as colonoscopies, and sigmoidoscopies, which are screening tests that use a camera to look at the colon.
“Nurses, particularly black nurses don’t get the opportunity to rise into more managerial places so for me to have pushed and blurred the boundaries between the medical profession was quite something,” she added.
The exhibition will feature Jennifer’s story in full, as well as other employees’ from the Trust.
Donna Mighty, Assistant Primary Care Liaison Manager and Co-Chair of the BME Staff Network, who has helped to organise the exhibition, said: “As a collective, it is important to acknowledge the Windrush generation and the challenges faced then and now.
“The Here to Stay exhibition is about celebrating our nurses – past and present and thanking them for their dedicated contribution to the National Health Service. We are grateful to all the participants for agreeing to be involved in the project, for giving their time and sharing their stories with us.
“I want to say a special thanks to documentary photographer Inės for curating the exhibitions.”
To find out more head to the exhibition at the Education Centre, at Sandwell Hospital, West Bromwich, from 1st October.