Evelina London nurse recognised with prestigious award

Posted on Friday 21st October 2022

Charlotte Yearwood Martin, senior fertility nurse

Charlotte Yearwood Martin, senior fertility nurse, has won a Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Rising Star Award this year.

Now in its fifth year, the awards are part of the RCN London’s celebrations for Black History Month. They recognise nurses and healthcare support workers from London’s Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic nursing community who have made an outstanding contribution to the capital’s health and care system.

Charlotte is a Kofoworola Abeni Pratt Fellow, leading on a project to proactively recruit women from Black and ethnic minority backgrounds into clinical trials. Evidence suggests that these women are less likely to volunteer to participate in research for a number of reasons. Charlotte has broken down barriers between local communities and healthcare, in an area which is often taboo and has a significant impact on women.

The Fellowship is named in honour of Kofoworola Abeni Pratt, the first Black nurse to work in the NHS. 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 then became a staff nurse at Evelina London Children’s Hospital in 1952.

The Fellowship programme is unique to Guy’s and St Thomas’ and gives the opportunity for personal and professional development, as well as helping to address the gap in senior leaders who identify as being from a Black, Asian or minority ethnic background.

In total, six nurses from Guy’s and St Thomas’ have been recognised by the RCN for their outstanding contribution to nursing.

Other Rising Star Award winners included:

  • Aderonke Ajidahun, a haemophilia clinical nurse specialist at St Thomas’ Hospital and Kofoworola Abeni Pratt Fellow, is a strong patient advocate who supports people to have a voice and to express any concerns. She is also a role model outside of work, advising other staff on career development and mentoring young people from ethnically diverse backgrounds to consider a career in nursing and healthcare.
  • Adwoa Asamoah, a deputy sister in the cath labs at Harefield Hospital, organises monthly staff reflective practice sessions to support staff wellbeing. She also oversees infection prevention and control and hand hygiene for the department, and was instrumental in implementing changes to improve patient safety during the pandemic.
  • Jan Michael Rase, a senior theatre practitioner at St Thomas’ Hospital and Kofoworola Abeni Pratt Fellow, is passionate about supporting colleagues, particularly those who are underrepresented. He has supported the workforce team in their work around international recruitment, and has used his own experience to drive forward the pastoral care and professional development of internationally recruited staff.
  • Stella Esan is a senior staff nurse with the @Home team, caring for patients in their own homes in Lambeth and Southwark. She was previously a staff nurse in adult intensive care and took a proactive role in setting up the first Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Network across Royal Brompton and Harefield hospitals. During the COVID-19 pandemic she spoke to many members of the community to find out about their experiences, and offered a listening ear to many staff from ethnic minority backgrounds.
  • Veronica Rapezzi, a senior staff nurse in the intensive therapy unit at Harefield Hospital, has carried out a huge amount of work around diversity and inclusion to explore the issues nurses may have and to work out ways to address any concerns. She has helped set up many initiatives including a ‘This is me’ section in the staff newsletter, a comprehensive holiday calendar, a diversity box in the staff room for everyone to leave anonymous comments, and regular online questionnaires.

This year’s winners were recognised for taking their passion for justice and equality and using it to champion inclusion, to prioritise wellbeing for staff and patients, and to empower others.

Jay Dungeni, Deputy Chief Nurse at Guy’s and St Thomas’, said: “We are so proud of our outstanding nurses who have gone above and beyond to provide compassionate care for their patients and colleagues. Our Rising Stars represent nursing care at its best.”