19 May 2022

Nurse who has built 20 year NHS career after moving to Sheffield from India nominated for national leadership award

A nurse who was part of the first group of international nurses to join Sheffield Teaching Hospitals 21 years ago has been nominated for a national award.

Sheeba Jefferson, who is now Deputy Nurse Director for Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Neonatology at the Trust, has been nominated for the ‘Compassionate and Inclusive Leader’ category at the National Health and Care BAME Awards.

The awards celebrate the contribution of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) staff to the NHS and highlight BAME role models.

Sheeba initially came to Sheffield from South India in 2001 to work as a nurse in the NHS. She was at The Trust for 14 years, before moving to work in Leeds as a matron, and then returning to Sheffield as Deputy Nurse Director in 2020.

She said: “Being nominated for an award took me by surprise, but it is very nice that people have noticed and wanted to put me forward.

“I am compassionate and interested in everyone, and my day-to-day values are about helping people and showing kindness in everything I do. I try to be visible and build good relationships with colleagues and patients. Compassion and inclusion are two sides of the same coin. Being a leader and role model for that behaviour is reflected in the care you offer.”

She said that the motto of her nursing college in India, ‘not to be served but to serve’, had stayed with her as a guiding principle.

She said she was proud to have built her career in the NHS and to be a role model for other nurses. She is also a member of the Trust’s Race Equality & Inclusion staff network and involved with NHS England work to help support more BAME staff develop NHS careers and become senior leaders.

“We have nearly 500 nurses from BAME backgrounds and a lot of international nurses come here with a lot of experience and knowledge, and we have to make sure we promote inclusion and utilise all of that talent.”

Sheeba’s husband and both her children now also work for the NHS.

She said: “It started with one and now it is four! I want to thank Sheffield Teaching Hospitals because without the Trust I would not be in this position. Many of my colleagues and managers have influenced and supported me over the years. I am so proud when I look back.”

The award winner will be announced at a ceremony in London on 9 June.

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