From Jamaica to the UK: my experiences as a Windrush nurse

Series 3 Episode 8: Pearly Morgan talks about her arrival in the 1960s and career in the NHS

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To celebrate Black History Month, Nursing Standard podcast talks to a former nurse and midwife who swapped Manchester, Jamaica for Manchester, England.

In 1960, Pearly Morgan saved the £85 she needed for a flight from Jamaica to England. She was 22, her mother had died, and she had siblings who had already moved to the UK in search of a brighter future.

Culture shock

In the UK, Ms Morgan fulfilled her dream of being a nurse, and became one of the many thousands of Caribbean migrants known as the Windrush generation.

Ms Morgan started as an auxiliary
nurse after arriving in Manchester.

Life here was somewhat of a culture shock for Ms Morgan; unused to the cold, she quickly bought a winter coat and boots, and was also puzzled to see smoke rising from chimneys, at first thinking the houses were on fire.

Life in Moss Side, Manchester, was one of community, Ms Morgan says, with housemates cooking for each other and acting as informal childcare providers.

But in her work she faced racism from both patients and staff.

Progressed to senior sister midwife

Ms Morgan began her career as an auxiliary nurse at Springfield Hospital, a psychiatric hospital in the former workhouse building in Crumpsall.

She later started training as an enrolled nurse at Wythenshawe Hospital, completing her studies at Manchester Northern Hospital.

Ms Morgan then studied midwifery in Rochdale, before going on to work at St Mary’s Hospital, Manchester, where she became a senior sister midwife in charge of a neonatal intensive care unit.

Listen above, on iTunes or Spotify, to hear her story.

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