A 52-year-old Zimbabwean-born nurse, Dorcas Gwata, has been named the “best nurse” in the UK.
Gwata, who works as a psychiatric liaison nurse at St Mary’s Hospital A&E, won the Best Nurse category in recognition of her work supporting young people involved in gangs and knife crime.
She started her career in the National Health Service (NHS) at the age of 21 as a hospital cleaner.
Before joining the NHS, Gwata worked in her home country Zimbabwe helping people become more engaged in mental health services.
Speaking to The Sun, Gwata said she applied what she had learnt when back in London. She said:
I didn’t work in an office – I’d wear trainers and jeans and engage with people wherever they were – in McDonald’s, on street corners or in prison.
One girl came from three generations who had never worked. There was a very strong history of criminality and drug use.
She took an overdose, and I helped her. It took a lot of work and she needed a lot of help. Now, she now works in the City.
We broke the cycle. Her children, and her children’s children, will see the possibilities because their mother worked. It makes me really proud.
Gwata received the award at The Sun’s Who Cares Wins awards hosted by Davina McCall which took place earlier this week and aired on Channel 4 on 27 November.
She thanked NHS cleaners who are “too often invisible and voiceless”. She said:
I want to thank all my patients who I have looked after, they shared their vulnerability and strength and they made me the nurse I am today.
I share this award with thousands of migrant nurses and midwives who come to this great country to work and support their families back home.
I share it with thousands of hospital cleaners who are in our midst, too often invisible and voiceless.
I love being a nurse, it’s a great honour to serve our communities, and I would do it all again.
Thank you for this honourable award, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Gwata was nominated by her colleague Dr Maddalena Miele, Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist who described her as someone “who really thinks outside of the box” and “has made it her mission to provide” people from ethnic minorities “with better psychiatric care.” | MyLondon