Marlo Tacanay, a senior staff nurse in the Intensive Care Unit at King George Hospital, run by Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, has taken part in a special collage of BAME nurses and midwives to celebrate the 72nd birthday of the NHS on Sunday (5 July).
The photo-led project, called ‘nurse behind the mask’ was put together by The Florence Nightingale Foundation (FNF), and featured nurses and midwives who have been working on the frontline during the Covid-19 pandemic.
As a nurse working intensive care, one of the areas most impacted by Covid-19, Marlo has been wearing a facemask at work since the beginning of March.
Speaking about his experience during the pandemic, he said: “At times it has been overwhelming, however, we have managed to get through it thanks to our resilience. I am very thankful for my colleagues in Critical Care and for the help from other members of our multidisciplinary team, especially the staff who were redeployed from other departments. Hopefully the challenges will start to ease.”
Marlo joined the Trust in 2008 as a healthcare assistant and became a qualified nurse in 2014, working in Critical Care ever since. He is a Florence Nightingale scholar, having completed a 12-month scholarship with the FNF last year, which included leadership development. Marlo said: “The support of the foundation has been very good. They provide networking opportunities and mentoring. Recently they delivered a refresher session on boosting your confidence.”
The foundation is renowned for supporting BAME nurses and midwives; in 2019/20 43 per cent of participants were from a BAME background. The collage of nurses Marlo took part in honoured the diversity of the health sector and paid tribute to the many nationalities which make up the rich cultural tapestry of the NHS.
Reflecting on the diversity of the NHS, Marlo said: “The NHS is multicultural and it’s important to appreciate everyone’s contribution. What binds us all together is that we all want to help and care for our patients.”
You can read more about the ‘nurse behind the mask’ project on the FNF website.