Nurse educator named one of Britain’s most influential black people

Professor of nursing Laura Serrant has been placed on the 2018 Powerlist of people of African and African Caribbean heritage.

A leading nurse educator has been named as one of Britain’s most influential black people.

Professor of nursing Laura Serrant. Picture: Barney Newman

Sheffield Hallam professor of nursing Laura Serrant is at eighth place on the 2018 Powerlist of 100 people of African and African Caribbean heritage.

Professor Serrant is also chair of the chief nursing officer’s black and minority ethnic (BME) strategic advisory group, a member of the government's independent advisory group on black and minority ethnic issues, and an ambassador for the Equality Challenge Unit for higher education.

She said: ‘I am honoured and astounded to be recognised in the Powerlist 2018, and I feel incredibly privileged to be listed in the top ten alongside some truly inspirational people.

‘At this time in history, it is important that we appreciate and recognise the valuable contributions we make as a diverse society.’

Specialist areas

Professor Serrant is one of only six black professors of nursing in the UK and her specialist areas of research include health disparities, diversity leadership, sexual health, and transcultural issues in health and wellbeing.

Businesswoman Gina Miller was named most influential black person, while British Vogue editor Edward Enninful is also in the top 10 of the list, which rates nominees on their ‘ability to positively alter events and change lives.’

The Powerlist top 10:

  • Gina Miller – business owner, political activist.
  • Ric Lewis – Tristan Capital Partners chair and chief executive.
  • Ismail Ahmed – World Remit founder.
  • Sharon White – Ofcom chief executive.
  • Nira Chamberlain – mathematician.
  • Jacky Wright – HM Revenue and Customs chief digital and information officer.
  • Sandra Wallace – DLA Piper UK managing partner.
  • Laura Serrant – Sheffield Hallam University professor of nursing.
  • Shirley J Thompson – music composer, visionary and cultural activist.
  • Edward Enninful – British Vogue editor-in-chief.

Unveiling the Powerlist 2018, publisher Michael Eboda said: ‘I’m particularly proud that the number of the women on the list has increased so substantially.

‘It goes to show how it is possible, if one puts one’s mind to it, to increase diversity in any sphere.’

Social attitudes

Professor Serrant began her career as a nurse and outreach worker during the early 1990s, when she worked BME communities, sex workers, drug and alcohol dependents, and homeless people, and sought to tackle social attitudes to HIV and AIDS.

Her career in academia began by chance when she was asked to cover for a friend at a healthcare education evening at a college in Nottingham. She went on to become director of care, health and childcare services there.

Now professor of nursing in Sheffield Hallam’s Faculty of Health and Wellbeing, Professor Serrant has developed and published a theoretical framework for conducting research into compassion in practice.

She has won numerous awards, including the fellowship of the Queens Nursing Institute for her leadership in community nursing. She was also appointed to the Prime Minister’s commission for the review of nursing and midwifery in 2010.

Professor Serrant also campaigned for a statute of Jamaican-born nurse Mary Seacole to be honoured for her services in caring for wounded British soldiers during the Crimean War. The statute was unveiled in the memorial statue in the gardens of St Thomas’ Hospital in London last year.

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