Precious Moments with Dr Nola Ishmael OBE

  • Hi, could you please introduce yourself?
    My name is Dr Nola Ishmael OBE
  • Where are you based?
    I am based in Coventry 
  • What is your background?
    I was born in Barbados. I come from a large family of six sisters and one brother. I came to England in 1963 to train as a nurse. 
    I enjoyed my days as a student nurse and within eighteen months of qualifying I was promoted to Unit Sister. This was my first managerial role. Two years later I went on to do a course in Health visiting. Again I enjoyed the learning and activities of this branch of Nursing. After a while I was offered promotion as a Community Nurse Manager. I used my platform to encourage staff to participate in development programmes to further their careers.

    When the changes in the NHS started in the 80’s I looked at how this would impact on patients and staff and also what was possible in a changing NHS, I applied for the post of Assistant Director of Nursing in Greenwich and was successful. Three years later I was appointed Director of Nursing, making me the first Black and Minority Ethnic nurse to become a Nursing Director in London.

  • What are you passionate about? What drives you.
    I am passionate about gaining the right levels of knowledge and learning to equip staff in the NHS and the opportunities that are available when a person has a sound knowledge base. I am driven by Excellence and Quality and the power that a history of good performance can bring. I am excited to be involved with young people and to see the world through their lens.
  • If you were not a Nurse, what would you be today?
    If I were not a Nurse I would want to be a University Professor. In this way I could play a key role in helping to shape future generations to adapt to an ever changing world.
  • How did you feel when you were awarded an OBE?
    I was extremely humbled and honoured that I was considered for this honour in 2000. I was pleased for my family, friends and my home country Barbados.
  • Unknown or fun fact about yourself? Hidden talents
    I love Country music.
  • How do you see the advancement of promoting nurses and nurse expertise in the next five years?
    I believe that Nursing is a dynamic profession underpinned by constancy– moving with the times is important while retaining all the key components of care i.e. compassion, confidence, empathy and top of the range clinical skills. Utilizing an evidence-based approach through research is equally important as is clearly defined Leadership. My vision for the next five years is that Nursing is a Choice career and staffing levels move from crisis to comfortable. I am particularly interested in the approach the current Chief Nursing Officer for England Ruth May is taking in promoting junior nursing uniforms for children. Who knows how impacting this ‘grow-your-own’ initiative will have down the road.
  • How do people find out more information about you / what you do? I am fortunate to have some information on Google and twitter.
    As well as email. Also, I am fortunate to have some BBC videos including Midnight Oil and Early Morning Dew

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