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African Women and the
British Health Service


Shuvai Foley

Shuvai Foley is a nurse from Zimbabwe. She migrated to the UK in 2002 after being encouraged to by a fellow medical practitioner and friend. In her interview, she compares working in Zimbabwe with the UK, from an educational perspective and hands-on in hospitals.


"I came over in 2002 on my own. When I came over it was an experiment really. I used to work in a good job back home in Zimbabwe, but my friend was here and kept saying “You need to come over to the UK”. So when I came over initially I wanted to try and see how it goes. I’m still here. Almost 20 years of my life."


"Nursing in Zimbabwe was much more exciting than here, definitely. Because there you’re looking after patients who you see get better. You advise them. In Zimbabwe patients have more respect for the nurses and whatever the nurse says, the patient will tend to agree. Here, it’s like they will say 'Why?' They don’t trust what we are saying."

"All I can say is I still love my nursing. It’s a pity [that] it’s more paper-orientated now than being hands-on nursing, unfortunately. But I still love my job. I think if I didn’t like it, I would have resigned ages back, because if you look at it even salary-wise – the salary’s really gone down for nurses. You can get a better pay out there than being a nurse to be honest. I’m in it because I love nursing."


"I would say nursing is a job which you don’t have to go in for money, especially these days. You’ve got to go in because you love nursing and that you love patients. Because you do get a lot of challenges, I can’t lie about that."

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