Nurses are leaders
This blog was written by Lloyd Nunag, Research Team Lead, Imperial College London and Advisory Group Member, CSEM UHC2030
My name is Lloyd Nunag, I am a life-long advocate and a full-time nurse.
I moved to the UK in December 2017 and first worked in a Coronary Care Unit and Cath Lab before landing a role as a Clinical Research Nurse/Research Coordinator in January 2020. Today, I work as a Research Team Leader in one of the biggest NHS Trusts in the UK providing care to a million people annually.
High-quality healthcare starts with rigorous research. The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly shown the ongoing need for scientific and health research and nurses are an essential part of that.
I think it is very important that when we talk about nurses, we go beyond the “traditional” roles. Yes, nurses are on the frontlines, but they are also advancing health and safety as researchers, advocates, leaders, innovators, and communicators.
I recently applied to “Schwarzman Scholars”, one of the world’s most competitive and prestigious postgraduate leadership programmes.
The Scholarship is designed to prepare the next generation of global leaders for the challenges of the future. This year, from an initial pool of over 3,000 applicants from 33 countries and 106 universities, only 151 Schwarzman Scholars were selected. I am delighted to be the only and first-ever nurse to be selected as a successful candidate.
As a young leader representing more than 28 million nurses worldwide, my engagement will be crucial at a critical juncture in global health when science and public health are being challenged. My participation as a Schwarzman Scholar will help me understand the dynamic between science, healthcare, politics, and global affairs. Above all, I hope that this opportunity will allow me to have a greater impact on the communities I serve and represent.
I strongly believe that patient advocacy and nursing go far beyond the four corners of the hospital. There is a need for nurses to receive more attention, including through education of policymakers and strengthening collaborations with stakeholders working on health and beyond.
My goal as a nurse leader and global health professional is to transform healthcare delivery and operations at the intersection of compassion, innovation, and advocacy – ultimately improving the healthcare experience for patients and professionals. I am especially passionate about engaging creativity and interdisciplinary collaboration to address organisational and industry-wide problems.
I believe that nurses can bridge the divide between the clinic and the policymakers. We provide essential services and are key to achieving ‘Health for All’, yet in spite of our invaluable insights, nurses don’t play enough of a role in health policy and decision-making. I want to change that.
Nurses are essential to achieving Universal Health Coverage, and I can’t wait to use my leadership and this opportunity to continue to make breakthroughs. It is time to recognise nurses as leaders – not just of tomorrow, but of today.
My advice for early-career nurses…
We are not limited by the four corners of the hospital. We can be patients’ advocates in different ways. Around the world, changes in health care are opening new opportunities for nurses.
I really believe that nursing is a great career with many pathways. Once you’ve become a nurse, there are so many different areas you can go into and grow your career track. I’ve been able to hold many positions, from being a staff nurse to doing policy and research. Being a nurse provided me with a critical foundation.
I also don’t think there is a typical career path. Nursing allows you to mould your career to match your interests.