Black History Month: Retired midwife from Exeter dedicated to the NHS

  • Report by Bob Cruwys

Retired nurse Faye Doris from Exeter has been dedicated to the NHS since arriving in the UK in the 1970s to train. She has also been taking part in a number of online events for Black History Month. This is her story:

The NHS has been part of Faye since 1972 when she began her nurse training. A minister in Guyana in South America suggested that she should come to the UK when he saw her helping care for her grandmother. He was from Wellington in Somerset and recommended that she should train at Yeovil District Hospital, and in due course she did.

Faye as a young nurse in Yeovil. Credit: Faye Doris

It was clearly a culture shock but Faye says the fact that she was not the only BAME person helped.

She says, "We were in the nursing home and there were nurses from the Caribbean, nurses from Africa, nurses from Asia. It was a multiracial group and it didn't feel as alien. The environment, the culture, the food, everything that we did was very different but that adjusting to it came from having a cohort that you could relate to and who were our role models."

Faye is now a role model herself, having retired as Lead Midwife responsible for education at the University of Plymouth. She is a governor at the RD&E hospital in Exeter and is still involved in research and education, helping to inspire the next generation.

The former midwife has also been supporting Black History Month. She says it is important to have a spotlight on black British history, focusing attention for a month each year on the achievements of black icons from the past - while also celebrating contemporary Black Britain. 

Faye's recommended reading for Black History Month. Credit: ITV West Country