Story Series: Shorayi Nyamupanda | Our blog

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The Maudsley Blog

Story Series: Shorayi Nyamupanda

2020 is the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, a time to reflect on the skills, commitment and expert clinical care that nurses and midwives bring, and the impact they make on the lives of so many. Here Shorayi Nyamupanda talks about his nursing career.


"I am Shorayi Nyamupanda, Service Director for the Psychological Medicine and Older Adults directorate.

"When I was at university back home in my native Zimbabwe, I must admit, I did not have any thoughts of becoming a nurse. At the time, I was studying Management Accountancy and Buyer. It turned out quickly that I was not enjoying my studies and my mother suggested I consider studying nursing abroad.

"My mother, now a retired general nurse, was a true inspiration. She ran rural clinics early in her career and progressed to be the Nursing Sister (Modern Day Matron) in our major hospital in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital city. My mother thought I would make a very good nurse, so I reluctantly agreed. My interest was in mental health nursing. Becoming a nurse was the best decision I have ever made in my life. Nursing was the making of me and I am forever grateful to my mother for encouraging me to consider a nursing career.

"I did very well in my placements, both mental health and general. Nursing colleagues in general nursing tried to encourage me to consider pursuing general nursing, however, my heart lay with mental health nursing. I loved the idea of supporting people with their mental health needs, the working relationships you develop and the joy of seeing people recover and learn to cope with their mental health and social needs. Most of my nursing career was in day hospitals and community settings.

"I did my training in SLaM followed by my first job for a year at Ravensbourne Trust. Some of you might wonder why I came back to SLaM. The truth is that I consider myself a ‘SLaM’ boy due to my training. I have worked at SLaM over a 25 year career. When I joined SLaM it comprised of two main hospitals, Maudsley Hospital and Bethlem Royal Hospital. The Bethlem and Maudsley worked very closely with both Lewisham Hospital and Lambeth Hospital. The four hospitals were just starting to come together and collaborating in a number of areas.

"In 1999 the local mental health hospitals merged into SLaM and this gave a wide range of options for individuals at all levels given the large footprint in South East London. As I live locally, there has been truly no reason for me to leave SLaM. From personal experience SLaM has been a great place to work full of opportunities in all the different boroughs. Each borough has a unique culture and challenges so whenever I applied for roles across boroughs, I learnt something new and brought something new from my previous experience. I think this has supported my career in leadership by developing an ability to adapt, learn quickly and develop new relationships at all levels.

"The most important factor has been colleagues who helped me develop and support me with my career. One of the key things has been having a mentor from an early stage in my career. I have also been fortunate to have supportive line managers. These individuals have supported me, challenged me and helped me develop my nursing and leadership career. This was especially important when I commenced my management and leadership career. A major highlight in my career is being appointed as one of the first BAME service directors in SLaM. This has been an absolute privilege and honour and I hope it opens doors for others. I am also passionate about supporting BAME colleagues and I mentor quite a number both formally and informally.

"My last word is, be curious and passionate to give excellent care, give your all when you work and when you are challenged, see this as an opportunity for learning. Remember, nursing is a rewarding career which can take you to different places if you wish to develop your career in either nursing leadership or operational management."

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