Saturday 21st May is World Cultural Diversity and Dialogue Day and St George’s Hospital in Tooting held a celebration event in advance on Thursday 19th May.

Group Chief Nurse of the St George’s, Epsom and St Helier Hospitals Group, Arlene Wellman, attended the event giving a keynote speech on her experience in the nursing profession as a black woman.

Arlene moved to the UK from Trinidad and she shared her journey to becoming the most senior internationally trained nurse in the UK:

“Along the way it has been difficult, there have been tears and at times I wanted to make myself smaller.

“I’m glad that I never let that voice in my head win and that I always knew I was just as good those scrutinising me.”

Arlene reflected on finding the discipline to continually improve on her skills and the confidence to go for opportunities. She stressed the importance of believing in what you bring to the table and spending time thinking about what makes you, you.

Arlene’s achievements were re-affirmed earlier this year when she was presented with her MBE by HRH The Prince of Wales, which she was awarded as part of the Queen’s birthday honours in June 2021.

Arlene is passionate about promoting an inclusive workplace and actively advocates for equality, diversity and inclusion, which is why she gladly accepted the invite from St George’s Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) network to speak at their event for World Cultural Diversity and Heritage day.

Arlene reminded BAME colleagues how important it is to sign up to the network so they can make sure their voice gets heard and ensure the hospital group continues to be an inclusive workplace with prosperity and opportunities for colleagues from any background.