November 21, 2016
HER driving force is believing that good things come to those who wait and better things come to those who work hard.
Nichole McIntosh, 41, told All Woman that as a child she was very shy and reserved, often walking with her head down trying to avoid eye contact with people.
But she said her earlier years in Petersfield, Westmoreland, under the guidance of her parents, Basil and Alpha Chambers, both retired teachers, taught her the values of confidence, honesty, self-respect, decency and ambition, which underpinned her life.
“I knew I would make something of my life. However, I sometimes felt that others had slightly lower expectations of me, so I worked twice as hard to ensure that failure was not an option,” she said.
Subsequently, when McIntosh left The Manning’s School, she completed a Diploma in Business Administration (marketing) from the College of Arts, Science and Technology, now University of Technology, Jamaica. Shortly afterwards she migrated to the United Kingdom (UK) where she said she developed a new level of confidence and truly chased her dreams.
“I migrated to the UK in June 1996 at the age of 21. I had the dream to be a nurse as a child, but by the time I left high school the dream faded for unexplained reasons. My family were teachers and didn’t really push me towards nursing. In the end, I decided to study with my friends who were taking business administration courses. This shows that your destiny can take unpredictable courses. But your current reality is not necessarily your destiny.
“When I arrived in the UK, nursing was the preferred choice of young immigrants from all over the world. There was a shortage of nurses in the UK and a bursary was paid to attract young people to the profession,” McIntosh said.
“I remember how kind and calm the nurses I met as a child were. They were unassuming, yet knowledgeable. I liked that, and added to that they helped to make patients better. I thought to myself, I would like to be the one to make a patient feel better too. I snapped it up and the rest is history,” she said.
Now McIntosh, a nurse for over 16 years, is the head of nursing in specialist medicine and support services at North Middlesex University Hospital in the London borough of Enfield.
She is also a second-year PhD nursing student at Middlesex University in London and is exploring the area of transcultural health care, focusing on culturally competent compassion and inter-cultural communication, where she will research the hospital experiences of older stroke patients of black Caribbean backgrounds.
On top of that, McIntosh has a diploma in higher education (nursing) from the London South Bank University, a Bachelor of Science in Health Studies and Public Administration from the London Metropolitan University, a Master of Science in Social Research Methods and Health Studies from City University, London, and a Master of Science in Nursing Research and Practice Development from London South Bank University.
She is also a former research scholar and alumni of The Florence Nightingale Foundation, and in April 2015 she was featured in a careers article in the Nursing Standard journal in recognition of her passion for nursing research. In May 2016 she was one of the scholars who was given the honour to lead the Procession of the Lamp at the Florence Nightingale Commemorative Service at Westminster Abbey.
McIntosh, a wife and mother of two, is also passionate about leadership and breaking down barriers and stereotypes about cultural differences.
“I’m a diversity and inclusion champion. I’m a descendant of Maroons and I’m proud to share how this has made me who I am and this can be seen on my blog Human Touch at www.nicholemcintosh.com. It is sad that in 2016 we still have an under-representation of black and minority ethnic people (BME) in leadership roles. A shocking statistic is that there is only three per cent of BME staff in the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK who are on my grade and above. I’m here to give hope and inspiration to the young nurses that they too can succeed,” she said.
“I have had a varied career to date and have extensive experience of working in the acute NHS sector in a range of clinical, research and managerial roles in the specialties of clinical research, primary immunology, haematology, oncology, stroke, older people services, and general health care management. I have also previously worked as a matron, senior nurse and assistant director of patient experience improvement,” McIntosh said.
Outside of work, McIntosh has served as a parent governor within her son’s school and is on her way to becoming a member of the Nurses Association of Jamaica, UK.
She enjoys family time, reggae music, and travelling.
“I’m courageous when I need to be and will happily be the voice of the underdogs,” she said. “I give hope to those who’ve been told that they can’t or won’t. With my inspiration, the underdogs will be empowered to reply ‘watch me’ to the naysayers.”