Nurse who moved across the world without family to work for NHS awarded by King

A nurse who moved across the world to work for the NHS was celebrated by the King at a reception on Tuesday.

Brighty Abraham, 40, from West Croydon, was invited to Buckingham Palace by King Charles on November 14, in an event that celebrated the contributions of international nurses and midwives recruited through the NHS’ Capital Nurses programme.

The programme was set up in 2015 to ensure the NHS has the right number of nurses with the right skills across London.

Mrs Abraham, who now leads a team of almost 50 nursing and healthcare workers, was selected to represent Croydon’s international nurses in recognition of her commitment to care, having moved across the world from Kuwait without family to join the Croydon Health Services NHS Trust in February 2020. 

She said: “I was incredibly excited to be invited to meet His Majesty the King.

“It’s truly a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m grateful to the trust for the nomination and for recognising my contribution.”

Brighty Abraham at Buckingham Palace on November 16 (Picture: Brighty Abraham)

While dealing with the challenges of settling into a new country, culture and way of life, the world was waking up to the crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic. Within a month of her arrival, Mrs Abraham was on the frontline of Croydon’s NHS response to the virus, providing life-saving care to those who needed it most.  

She said: “I was initially anxious coming to the UK and settling in as a citizen alone whilst my family remained back in Kuwait, but the support I have received from my colleagues and nursing leaders across the trust who championed me when I first arrived, has been amazing.  

“Being a nurse in Croydon is fantastic, I am always supported to do my best and when I ask for help, I am never turned away. 

“The trust’s strong values of diversity enable everyone the opportunity to improve and I’m very proud to represent the trust and my nursing colleagues in front of the Royal Family.” 

Brighty Abraham joined the Croydon Health Services NHS Trust in February 2020 (Picture: Brighty Abraham)

Since the pandemic, Mrs Abraham has climbed the ranks, completing her OCSE examinations – qualifying her as a professional nurse in the UK, and gaining her registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council, before being promoted twice in three years to the role of ward leader. 

Chief nurse at the Croydon NHS Trust, Nicola Shopland, said: “We’re delighted that Brighty was selected to attend the royal reception, a fitting celebration for someone who has contributed so much to Croydon Health Services NHS Trust in such a short space of time. 

“Across the trust, our nursing, midwifery and allied health professionals go above and beyond each and every day to provide the best possible care to patients and it is only right that we recognise this, but also the additional commitment made by international nurses, who move their entire lives across the world, often leaving behind family and friends, to seek new opportunities and to provide care for Croydon patients. We have huge respect and admiration for the choices they make.” 

Pictured top: Brighty Abraham (Picture: Brighty Abraham)

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