Nurse dedicates OBE to colleagues to have died during pandemic

·2-min read

A nurse who has been made an OBE for services to the profession has dedicated her award to colleagues who have died during the coronavirus pandemic.

Felicia Kwaku, 53, associate director of nursing at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said the honour was a “wonderful privilege” following the royal investiture ceremony on Thursday.

The ceremony at St James’s Palace, in London, was the second since national lockdown began, and was held by the Prince of Wales.

Ms Kwaku said Charles had been “insightful” about the struggles faced by those in the nursing profession and had done “phenomenal work” to help nursing recruitment.

Investitures at St James’s Palace
Felicia Kwaku, associate director of nursing at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (Victoria Jones/PA)

“A lot of black and Asian and ethnic minority nurses died during Covid, so that was most of the work, making sure we’re protecting them and raising their concerns,” she told the PA news agency.

“(Charles) is very insightful and was talking to me about nursing and we discussed the impact of Covid.

“I said it’s been really hard, it’s been really tough and he asked ‘even now?’ and I said yes, it’s taken its toll on the nursing profession.

“We talked about mental health. It’s fantastic that he’s really knowledgeable and aware of that and discussed how we could support the profession, so that’s really good.

“It’s great that the royal family are backing us.”

Investitures at St James’s Palace
Felicia Kwaku with the Prince of Wales (Victoria Jones/PA)

Asked about her family’s reaction, Ms Kwaku, who attended the ceremony with her mother Helen, said they were “beside themselves”.

“It’s a shame that you can’t bring your family but my mum is just so proud,” she said.

“This honour is for all the black, Asian and ethnic nurses and also for my British-Nigerian community.

“It’s a privilege and an honour.

She added: “None of this stuff you can do on your own. You are reliant on your peers, your colleagues, the whole fabric of your workplace.

“It’s not done in silos so the reason why I’m here is because of my nursing colleagues.

“It’s about giving honour to those colleagues that died during the pandemic.

“This award is definitely for them.”

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