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Windrush

Tenacious, targeted, tired, and triumphant.

Assistant director of nursing – and the most senior nurse from a BME background in our Trust – Nichole McIntosh has had to climb mountains in order to progress her research journey.


The igniting fire for Nichole’s doctoral research was sparked by a patient survey workshop many years ago, when she learned that in a sample of 1250 patients and with reminders, only a small response is considered normal. The single point that stands out for her from the workshop was a comment that ‘patients from black and minority ethnic backgrounds don’t respond to surveys’. The dismissive attitude and acceptance of the situation as ‘matter of fact’, determined Nichole’s research journey’s destination: “I would undertake doctoral research to give a voice to those who may feel they are not being heard.” 


But the journey was far from smooth.


Following completion of her MSc in 2005, and a career that involved balancing a young family with progressively more senior nursing roles, Nichole first enrolled on a doctorate programme in 2009. But after completing two years of the taught component, and faced with ever reducing class size – just two left at the lowest point – she made a difficult decision to leave the programme after she had completed sufficient work to be awarded a Masters in Nursing Research and Practice Development.


It’s a mark of the strength that runs through her like marble that she continued to hold on the ambition to complete doctoral level research. She ascribes this ‘zeal, tenacity and strength’ to her Jamaican heritage, and says it runs “deep within my DNA. I am the descendant of ancestors who were of African heritage, and who were brought from West Africa to the Caribbean, and who were rebellious and ingenious in fighting for their freedom and that of others.”


Nichole had to surmount numerous obstacles and overcome some significant challenges to follow her path to doctoral research, as her proposed research area was considered a ‘niche interest’. She said “I had a constant battle to get ahead in the NHS as an ambitious Black Caribbean woman and nurse with ambitions to study at the highest level, and this was now combined with the ‘weathering’ effect of having to ‘convince’ my supervisor that my research was worthwhile.” Her dedication and determination prevailed however, and Nichole knew it was “the last time I was going to be told to ‘know my place’”.


Nichole drew on a chance contact with a professor of transcultural health and nursing whom she had briefly met at a Chief Nursing Officer BME Advisory Group conference in October 2014, and successfully gained permission to transfer her course credits to a new university. Despite further setbacks in securing permission from the research ethics committee, Nichole persevered and received a favourable outcome from the HRA and REC in December 2017, and the green light from Middlesex University to commence her research in January 2018. She is now undertaking an ethnographic study on hospital experiences of older Black Caribbean patients on a stroke unit.

edited on Apr 27, 2018 by Georgie Agass

Paul Wastell Apr 27, 2018

Nichole, I'm truly inspired that you show such grit and can do so many difficult things at once. Really looking to reading your doctorate. Thank you for championing a great cause. North Middlesex University Hospital is rightly proud of you!

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McIntoshNichole Apr 28, 2018

Thank you Paul! It’s an honour to be included!

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Jana Asukile Apr 30, 2018

Excellent presentation of your personality and professional grit, Nichole! I have only known you a short time but I am always impressed with your resolve to always push through and get the necessary results for the desired objective. Well done!

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McIntoshNichole Apr 30, 2018

Thank you for all your support Jana! It is refreshing to work as part of such a dynamic and dedicated multi-disciplinary team. I will continue with my research to ensure our patients' experiences of care are heard and acted upon.

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Melusi Nkomo May 4, 2018

Well done Nichole your achievements are understated . You walk with kings but never lost the common touch. We salute you!

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McIntoshNichole May 4, 2018

Thank you Melusi. That’s really kind of you and much appreciated. As Nelson Mandela said, “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead”.

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Claire Hogg May 4, 2018

Truly determined and a lovely human being too!

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McIntoshNichole May 5, 2018

Thank you Claire! That’s so kind of you.

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Shelagh Prosser May 5, 2018

Nichole, you are a fantastic person to work with - dedicated, honest, inspring and funny. You truely deserve this award.

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McIntoshNichole May 5, 2018

Thank you Shelagh. That’s so kind of you.

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Achim Schwenk May 5, 2018

Dear Nichole - i think this should be 'tireless' not 'tired' in the title although I would understand if you are occasionally both of these. Such a role model for our Trust values and behaviours. Helping to recruit you has been one of my best achievements in my time at North MIdd!

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McIntoshNichole May 5, 2018

Thank you Achim. I am so grateful that you took the risk of hiring me :-) It changed my life and opened so many doors. Yes, I’m occasionally tired but more often tireless in my mindset. Thank you for your support. It is very much appreciated.

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Jeanette Williams May 5, 2018

Inspiring nomination amazing courage Nichole

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McIntoshNichole May 6, 2018

Thank you Jeanette. As we say in Jamaica, “where there’s life, there’s hope.” I’m hopeful for the future.

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Eno Ente May 6, 2018

Having met Nichole, I am so glad the younger generation have such a cool model to look up to, it is important to see strong and capable women of colour in important roles in our great NHS, long may it continue, well done Nichole

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McIntoshNichole May 6, 2018

Thank you Eno! I’m not too sure my kids would agree about the cool bit.
I’m so pleased that you are also working in the NHS as a positive role model for the next generation too.

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Samantha Ashmead May 8, 2018

An example of a great leader with humility combined, wishing you all the best, we are rooting for you..

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McIntoshNichole May 8, 2018

Thank you Samantha! Your support means so much to me. I’m representing Team North Mid! :-)

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Kim Perry May 8, 2018

I have worked alongside Nichole for five months now and I am inspired not only by her commitment to improving patient care but her ease at which she undertakes her research and the pure professionalism and dedication shown to those who she interviews/meets with. She is a credit to the profession and to her heritage.

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McIntoshNichole May 8, 2018

Thank you Kim! It is an absolute pleasure to work with you too. I’ve learned so much in the past 5 months. Thank you for your kind words of support. It really means a lot to me.

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Robert Luder May 8, 2018

Hi Nichole
you are definitely determined and devoted to your job including R&D, but also one of the nicest people around!
Bob Luder

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McIntoshNichole May 8, 2018

Hi Bob,
Thank you very much for all your your support in granting me permission me to undertake the research on the Acute Stroke Unit. It is very much appreciated and has helped me to progress on my research journey. Your support means so much to me. I will ensure that I do you and the team proud by ensuring that many people will hear the voices of the patients who will take part in the research.

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Sharon Beckford May 9, 2018

Nichole, I salute you. Your warmth that you have brought to this organization has enlightening many. Having met you twice, your presentation was most welcoming, and above all you were in all honesty are one of the best I have ever met that handles pressure with a smile. You are a great leader with determination and I wish you every success in whatever you pursue. "Simply the best, second to none".

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McIntoshNichole May 9, 2018

Oh! Thank you Sharon! You are too kind. I’m only doing my job by ensuring there’s a culture of compassionate leadership. So pleased I could help. :-)

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Judith Glashen May 11, 2018

Nichole your story and journey resonates with me - remain tenacious and many congratulations on your Windrush Nomination.

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McIntoshNichole May 11, 2018

Thank you Judith! It’s good to hear that you too are tenacious. Onwards and upwards!

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Judith Glashen May 11, 2018

Will do Nichole!

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Amy Buckingham May 18, 2018

This idea has been advanced to the current phase

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