Favour Olagunju

Favour was born in Nigeria in 1965, where she trained as a nurse in the 1980s. After working in various Nigerian hospitals, Favour moved to the UK in 2001. She talks about her experience retraining in Sheffield, working in Wales and London, culture shock and adjusting to life in the UK, her positive and negative experiences working in the health service, and offers advice to young people today.

Early life and health career

Hi, my name is Favour Olagunju. I’m from Ondo State, Nigeria.


[I was born on the] 12th of March 1965. From when I was young, I've been... I've shown much interest in caring for people. And I knew that right from when I was in secondary school, I’ve been determined that oh, “I would like to be a nurse.” You know, we were not too far from [the] hospital, so each time we see the nurses in and out, because the compound is just near the hospital. So when I look at them, the way they walk, the way they talk, or when I have cause to go to the hospital environment, I want to be one of like one of these. So it's a profession that I have passion for. As much as I try my best to encourage it, because I asked my younger one that lived with me and my niece, even when they are growing up, I try to encourage them to do the same, to go for nursing, but they both refuse.


I started nursing in Nigeria since far back, ‘86… I did my midwifery first. So, I entered the school of midwifery September 1986 and I finished in 1988. So after which, I worked a little bit like six months in a private hospital. I went for my nursing, general nursing, in University of Benin Teaching Hospital, March ‘89, and I finished 1990… I entered March 1989 and I finished 1990, I think September. So I now joined a state hospital, in 1991, January. So, I've been full time now since 1991 January, but I started with state hospital. That state hospital is in my local area in the [Ondo? Or Edo?] state of Nigeria. I was working in the state hospital, General Hospital, in Ondo State, Nigeria, up to 1992 December. So 1992 December I had my first baby, so I now changed from where I was, from state hospital, to come and join my husband in University College Hospital, UCH, in Nigeria as well. So I was at UCH from 1992, December, after my maternity leave - in Nigeria we only have 3 months maternity leave - so I joined them in December, but because I had a baby I didn’t go to the hospital until March. So, 1993 March - I started with UCH. I was there up to 2001, September.