Jamaican Nichole McIntosh Is Head of Nursing at A National Health Service Trust in London

Nichole McIntosh was born in Jamaica, but has lived in London for the past 20 years. As an accomplished and successful nurse and a first-generation immigrant, she is very proud of her Black Caribbean ethnicity. She frequently writes about her Maroon heritage on her “Human Touch” blog and describes her personal experience of how it feels to be an ambitious, young black woman in 21st-century Britain. Nichole moved to the United Kingdom for a better life and has faced challenges that required her to find her “moral courage.” Having earned several degrees and working as a Head of Nursing at a National Health Service (NHS) Trust in London, not to mention her more than 16 years of experience working in the acute NHS sector in clinical, research and managerial positions, Nichole faced considerable challenges in attaining her career sucess. “To say it has been a challenge would be an understatement,” she said. “I have had to stare down the stereotypes of what a Black Caribbean, or more specifically, how a Jamaican looks, sounds and behaves. I’m not just talking about White British stereotype either. It’s across the board, from others who are from similar backgrounds to me as well. If I had a pound (£) for every time someone said, ‘You don’t act Jamaican’ to me, I would be a millionaire.” Nichole has worked as Matron, Senior Nurse and Assistant Director of Patient Experience Improvement and led the project to introduce real-time patient survey systems across multiple hospital sites. She is a former Research Scholar and an alumna of The Florence Nightingale Foundation. In April 2015, Nichole was featured in a career article the Nursing Standard Journal, which recognized her passion for nursing research. In May of 2016, she led the Procession of the Lamp at the Florence Nightingale Commemorative Service at Westminster Abbey. Nichole has also made presentations at local and national conferences and is currently pursuing a PhD at Middlesex University in London. Her area of interest is transcultural health care with a focus on culturally competent compassion and intercultural communication. She plans to research the hospital experiences of older stroke patients of Black Caribbean backgrounds. Discussing her experiences, Nichole says, “I’ve graciously, yet doggedly, set out and continue to live true to my principles of tolerance, honesty, kindness, compassion and humanity for all regardless of any ‘differences’ that others may try to instill or perpetuate. Today, I am a 2nd year PhD student and Head of Nursing at a large National Health Service (NHS) Trust in London. It’s worth noting here that in the U.K., only 3% of Heads of Nursing and above are from a Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) background.” Nichole continues to use her voice and her presence on social media to challenge the status quo “every chance I get.” She describes herself as “persistent and steadfast” in her passion to achieve her potential. “I will allow no one to limit my opportunities and achievements. As for bullying and other incivility, let’s just say it doesn’t happen when I’m around. It may have something to do with my reputation for speaking out. I will and have put pen to paper to go on record against known bullies. I will not sit idly by and allow such behavior to be unchallenged.”