A Rohingya refugee pursues her passion for nursing in Bradford
As a newly-appointed Staff Nurse on the children’s ward at the Bradford Royal Infirmary’s Children and Young People’s Unit, Kismat says she has been encouraged and supported by her colleagues and her family, and is grateful. “Graduating from Child Nursing makes me grateful for what I have, makes me feel like I've achieved what I've always wanted,” she says. “I know my cousins back in Bangladesh would never have that opportunity. It makes me live for them.”
Kismat was born in a refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, to Rohingya parents who had fled their home in Myanmar. Until they were resettled in the UK in 2009, her family of six were among almost one million Rohingya refugees hosted by Bangladesh.
Arriving in the UK as a seven-year-old girl and the oldest of four sisters, Kismat had to quickly learn English and take on the role of translator for her parents, alongside assuming the many other responsibilities of being the eldest sibling, but she says it helped that Bradford proved to a welcoming, open-minded, multiracial city. “Bradford is really diverse so you do get a lot of people from different cultures,” she says.
“Bradford is a very welcoming place to refugees,” she says. “As a student nurse, working on a placement with the Children in Care team, we used to go out to asylum-seekers' homes, to children who had to flee from their home countries… to make sure that they were receiving all the support that they needed.”
Now as a qualified nurse, Kismat is proud that she can give back by helping other children, some of whom, like her, have been forced to flee their homes. “This is the support that we received when we were younger,” she says.
Kismat is excited to re-join the team at Bradford Royal Infirmary where she underwent some of her training, this time as a fully qualified Staff Nurse, having recently graduated from the University of Bradford.
Her colleagues are happy to welcome her back. “Different people's life experiences are a massive positive influence on this ward,” says Vikki, a Paediatric Sister. “We have a lot of Doctors, Staff Nurses and Healthcare Assistants that come from different countries and different religious backgrounds. Their life skills and their life experience have a massive positive influence on not just the patients but the staff and also the parents as well.”
Kismat, she says, is a hard-working member of the team. “She's always been very enthusiastic, always wanting extra shifts on the ward, so she must love working with us!” Vikki says. For Kismat, remaining eager and committed is all the easier because of the job satisfaction she experiences daily. “When families appreciate all the hard work that you do, it just makes you want to do more and more, and give back more and more,” she says.
Kismat has worked hard to achieve her dream, but knows it would not have been possible without the support of her parents, who encouraged her every step of the way, including to apply successfully for British citizenship through naturalisation. Now, she says, it’s time for her to support them in return by working hard. “I'm giving back to my parents for going through all the hardship. Now, I've just made their life a little bit easier for them,” says Kismat. But beyond her family, the support Kismat felt from colleagues and the wider Bradford community have been instrumental. “If it wasn't for that, I wouldn't really be where I am now,” she says.