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Nurses meet King Charles during royal appointment

Image shows three women

Three Swansea Bay nurses were invited to Buckingham Palace by King Charles as reward for their invaluable contribution to the NHS.

Manjula Sajeevan, Cerina Howells, and Omobola Akinade met the king as part of his 75th birthday celebrations which marked the contribution of international nurses and midwives to the UK’s health and social sector.

Image shows a group of people in a room They were nominated by the health board as three of 25 nurses and midwives from across Wales.

Omobola, who moved to Swansea from Nigeria 18 years ago, is now a practice development nurse training international nurses.

PICTURED: Omobola Akinade chats with King Charles at the event in Buckingham Palace.

She has been a role model for Black, Asian and minority ethnic nurses across the health board. She has spoken up against racism in the workplace, helped higher-level positions become more diverse and been an instrumental figure for overseas nurses who have left home to work in Swansea Bay.

Omobola shared a special conversation with King Charles, and surprised him with her Welsh language skills.

Omobola said: “Meeting King Charles was such a special honour for us. It was a unique experience going to Buckingham Palace and meeting royalty.

Image shows three women standing in front of a building “King Charles was so polite. I told him I am from Swansea and I wished him happy birthday in Welsh, which he was pleased with. I was the last nurse to meet him, but he took his time to chat with me which was really nice.”

Manjula, a senior sister in Cardiac Intensive Therapy Unit, has spent the last 16 years working for the health board since moving from Kerala, India.

PICTURED: Manjula Sajeevan, Omobola Akinade and Cerina Howells outside Buckingham Palace.

She often helps international nurses within the cardiac centre to settle into their roles, and supports them outside of shifts. She is also represents the health board in the British Indian Nurses Association.

Manjula said: “Standing outside Buckingham Palace – a place I’d only seen on TV – seeing the guards on horses and dressed in my Indian Sari made me feel like Cinderella!

“I felt very proud to be there and meet King Charles. I shook his hand and wished him happy birthday before he thanked me for all my hard work.

“I also met England’s Chief Nursing Officer Dame Ruth May. She said I have a strong Swansea accent! She trained in Newport, so she immediately picked up on that.”

Image shows a group of people in a room Cerina was nominated for her effort and desire in changing the way pressure ulcers in specific patients are dealt with throughout Wales to avoid unnecessary pain and harm.

She has been reassessing the current processes around diagnosing and treating pressure damage in Swansea Bay and across Wales so that dark skin toned patients of all ethnicities are also included, and not just light-toned ones.

PICTURED: Cerina Howells enjoys a conversation with King Charles.

She has also been named as one of the health board’s first Florence Nightingale Foundation (FNF) Academy Fellows, to help develop her leadership and skills further via a mentorship programme.

Cerina said: “It was a real privilege to be invited to meet King Charles at Buckingham Palace. We are very proud to work for the NHS, and also for the contribution we make.

“We feel we were there to also represent our colleagues who do such amazing work every day.”

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