12 November 2020

Kuda-Kali-thumbnail.PNGMeet Kuda Kali, Lead Nurse for the All Age Eating Disorders across the Trust. She told us all about her nursing journey and how she got to where she is now to mark International Year of the Nurse.  

Kuda grew up in a part of Africa that was blighted by inequality and apartheid, raised by her mum and grandmother. Her mother was a single parent who had her at 19-years-old.

The world and society wanted me to believe I would not amount to much. That my options were limited. There were massive economical, psychological and social challenges. But I was raised by some pretty resilient women. They role modelled the power of compassion, care and persistence to break the mould."

In 1998, Kuda came to the UK to study, where she intended to study Business like her mum. Her interest for nursing came when attending an Open Day at the University of Surrey. 

“They tearfully waved me at the airport , and whispered for me to come and ‘be great’ and make them proud. As I walked past the Nursing Studies Team, the leaflets and the conversation with the team spoke to my values and I signed up to the course. I have never regretted it.”

In 2002, Kuda completed her Nursing Studies, whilst working on an adult acute mental health ward for two years, she developed an awareness and curiosity about eating disorders.

I worked with patients presenting with a range of mental health conditions, from a variety of backgrounds. In Nursing, I found my way of using skill and knowledge to make an impact, to make a difference in people’s lives.”

In March 2004, Kuda joined CNWL working as a Staff Nurse at Vincent Square Eating Disorders Service with very little to not eating disorders experience.

“I only intended to work in the specialty for a year. Now, almost 17 years later, I am still here, enjoying the work! Eating Disorders has been a true match for me.  A true passion.

I always had an inquisitive mind, a curiosity, wanting to be of service and to make a valid contribution to life. I was brought up to believe no one brings the level of uniqueness and authenticity that each individual can bring to life.”

Since beginnng her role in the Trust, Kuda has worked across several roles from  Staff Nurse, progressing to Clinical Team Leader, Liaison Nurse, Liaison Team Leader, Nurse Therapist (Cognitive Analytic Therapist), Eating Disorders Team Manager at Milton Keynes, Liaison and Assessment Team Manager, Lead Nurse.

Kuda describes her current role has being her ‘greatest achievement, dream role, and wonderful privilege’.

Why she loves working in Eating Disorders is down to supporting patients to reclaim their lives and achieve personal recovery goals/ clinical recovery, she says.

“Eating Disorders is a serious mental health illness with high rates of  mortality, affecting all genders, from different cultural and social backgrounds. The staff that work in the specialty are reflective of the diversity of clinical presentations.

There is a lot of stigma in mental health, even more for individuals with eating disorders. There are misconceptions that they are ‘silly girls who want to look like Instagram models’, which couldn’t be further from the truth.”

To mark International Year of the Nurse, Kuda says a good nurse should exhibit the following values compassion, skill, innovation, integrity, courage, commitment, dependability, service to others.

“I strongly believe that nurses from all clinical backgrounds can be provided with the skills, knowledge, supervision, mentorship to become excellent nurses within the speciality.

One of my great Nursing Mentors instilled these important values in me: that whatever occupation or gift you have in life, you must use it to be of service. Being of service, and the significance you bring to your service, is that which is lasting. These founding principles have  got me jumping out of bed for the last 18 years as a proud Nurse.

I aspire to show nurses from black and ethnic minority backgrounds that you are the author of your story. Find a service that supports you to write the story you can be proud of, as I have had at Vincent Square.”

To read more about our CNWL's staff nursing journey's, please visit our Year of the Nurse stories page