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A research nurse who once had a patient refuse treatment because of the colour of her skin, has been awarded a national nursing award during Black History Month.
Prisca Gondo, who is based at Southend Hospital, was given the award by The Royal College of Nursing for her work to reduce discrimination towards ethnic minorities at Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust.
Prisca, from Rochford, who is originally from Zimbabwe, has been holding virtual meetings for people who may have suffered racism or discrimination in the workplace.
Her work has also seen a Diversity Charter being set up, showing the trust’s commitment to diversity through its values.
The Ethnic Minorities Network, of which Prisca is the vice chair, meets any new student nurses from abroad when they join and helps them look at all the different networks they can join, helping to reassure and guide them.
This makes sure they have as much support as possible when they start at the trust.
Prisca said: “It was a huge surprise getting the award. I wasn’t expecting it but I’m very grateful to have it and appreciate the recognition – especially on behalf of the network group and the diverse staff we have working at our trust.”
The starting point of Prisca’s journey working in equality and diversity came when she faced racism from a patient earlier in her career, who refused to be treated by her because of the colour of her skin.
This motivated her to join the Ethnic Minorities Network which made her feel there was a place where she was safe to talk about how racism had impacted her.
Prisca said: “Because diversity is a part of the national NHS agenda I think people have realised that we all have a role to play in that.
“There’s always more we can do but I think that we are on the right path and that our efforts as a trust are beginning to show.”