International Women's Day - Tina Akinpelu, Clinical Nurse Manager

12 Mar 2021

It was never going to be possible to tell the stories of all the incredible women that work for us in a single week and today we hear from the last of our small snapshot of inspirational women. Tina Akinpelu is currently working as Clinical Nurse Manager at the Westpoint COVID-19 Mass Vaccination Centre.

What has it been like to be involved in the vaccination programme?

When I look at what we’re doing now I’m proud of myself and what we’re doing for the community. When we came here it was a blank canvas and I’m really grateful for the opportunity given to me to work with this team. I enjoy what I do, I like to give back to the community and I always aim to give it my best. My personal motto is ‘my best in everything’.

How have you found working as a woman in the NHS?

I have been at the RD&E for 16 years and for me, I’ve found the NHS a welcoming place and I’m proud to be in this profession. I think it’s a profession that is good for a working mother and allows you to work and have a family and it gives me the opportunity to develop myself, meet and get to know people, I love it! I don’t think being a woman has held me back at all, being from a BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) background and moving to Devon I think was more of a challenge for me personally.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

I think it’s really important to celebrate women and it gives us an opportunity to show that we have women as heads of states and in the top roles in big organisations. I have a daughter as well and it’s important for her to see this and be proud that she’s a woman.

What are your hopes for your daughter?

I hope she can be herself and be whatever she wants to be and not meet any gender or ethnicity barriers, I think her generation will be able to break through more than we have done, we are paving the way for them. My hope for her is to excel, the sky’s the limit for her.

Who are the women that have inspired you?

Michelle Obama and the writer Maya Angelou have both been inspiring to me but at a personal level when I started work at the RD&E I met Faye Doris who serves as a Governor at the trust. It is inspiring for me to see a black woman at the top level and she is someone I go to for advice, she has been like a mentor for me.

What gender stereotypes or barriers would you like to see broken?

I think equal pay is the issue that I would like to see solved and I’d like to see more women at the executive level. I'm proud to say that here at the RD&E we do have women executives. It shows we are equal to the men, seeing their example gives me the inspiration that it can be possible for me. It proves that women can do the same job, and do it as well as a man.

What would you like other women to take from your example?

I would like to be seen as someone who helps bring about positive change. I hope I set a good example as I am black and a nurse and people can look up to me.

What message do you have for other women who are perhaps earlier on in their careers?

To all women out there go for it the sky’s the limit, be proud of yourself, know that we are all equal and keep on pushing on. From challenge comes change, so let’s all choose to challenge.

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