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Wessex research nurse features in NHS Birthday campaign

Wessex research nurse features in NHS Birthday campaign

A Wessex research nurse has featured in a campaign to mark 72 years of the NHS.

Senior Research Nurse Arlene Lee, who has worked at the NIHR Clinical Research Network Wessex for over 10 years, was part of a special campaign by the Florence Nightingale Foundation to mark the NHS’s birthday on the 5 July. 

The campaign, called The Nurse Behind the Mask, was created to honour the diversity of the health sector and pay special tribute to the many nationalities that make up the rich cultural tapestry of the NHS. 

The campaign featured a collection of photos of Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) nurses and midwives working on the frontline during the coronavirus pandemic, shown both with and without their personal protective equipment (PPE). 

Arlene Lee was photographed in Southampton, where she has been busy supporting the delivery of COVID-19 vaccine trials. 

On being part of the campaign, Arlene said: “It was fantastic to be involved with a campaign recognising the invaluable contribution of nurses and midwives during the coronavirus pandemic and the NHS’s 72nd year. It’s wonderful to honour and remember BAME colleagues who have worked on the frontlines.”

“I am proud to be working alongside my colleagues to support research into COVID-19 and help us gain a better understanding of this new disease and to hopefully find effective treatments.” 

2020 has been a busy year for Arlene, who is undertaking a Florence Nightingale Scholarship, alongside her work with the NIHR. 

In May 2020, Arlene was the scholar chosen to commemorate Florence Nightingale’s 200th birthday by carrying Nightingale’s lamp in Westminster Abbey on International Nurses’ Day.

On this experience, she commented: “I have been very privileged and honoured to represent the UK nursing and midwifery workforce by carrying the Nightingale lamp in Westminster Abbey on International Nurses’ day. 

“The work of the Florence Nightingale Foundation is important because of the recognition and value they place on developing our nurses and midwives so that they become confident future leaders, contributing to local and national policy development that will improve patient outcomes.”

In addition to this, Arlene has recently taken on a new role within the NIHR to help ensure that critical COVID-19 studies are available and accessible to patients across the UK. She explains: 

“I have recently become the Clinical Lead for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion for CRN Wessex. This means working collaboratively with the Centre for BME Health to ensure COVID-19 studies are available and accessible widely and equitably.” 

To find out more about the campaign and the Florence Nightingale Foundation, please visit their website