'Rare' Royal experience for nurse Swapna

A NURSING professional who has risen through the ranks at Rotherham Hospital celebrated her success with a 'rare' experience – meeting King Charles at Buckingham Palace.
Swapna meeting King Charles at the receptionSwapna meeting King Charles at the reception
Swapna meeting King Charles at the reception

Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust’s Swapna Narayananmaniyatan was invited to the reception – held to celebrate the contribution of international nurses and midwives working in the UK’s health and social care sector – after being nominated by chief nurse, Helen Dobson.

NHS England asked each region for 20 people to attend, with Helen putting Swapna forward because of her impact since joining the trust as an international recruit.

Helen said: “[Since joining], Swapna has progressed into a leadership role.

Shapna at Buckingham PalaceShapna at Buckingham Palace
Shapna at Buckingham Palace

“She provides ongoing support in the recruitment and onboarding of other international nurses.

“She has also successfully achieved the Professional Nurse Advocate qualification and uses that to support all her nursing colleagues, not just international recruits.”

Swapna, sister in charge on the acute medical unit, was delighted when she received news she was heading to the palace, although it took a while to sink in.

“I was asleep when I got the call,” she said.

“I just thought, ‘this is a rare experience’.

“I’d heard it was quite scary [going to the palace] but it all went very smoothly and wasn’t scary at all.

“Everybody was so polite.

“I felt like a billionaire – from head to toe I was posh. But only for one day!”

Swapna, originally from Kerala, India, has been with the trust for three years.

She said: “When I first arrived, there was a really good team looking after us.

“We were like a family – the team kept us positive, I didn’t ever feel left out and they were very helpful.

“I never felt homesick.”

The Royal event was a double celebration for the King as he also celebrated his 75th birthday.

Swapna said: “King Charles was very down to earth, making jokes and taking the time to speak to each of us.

“We even sang happy birthday to him!

“Some of my patients had asked me to say happy birthday on their behalf so I made sure to do that.”