Congratulations to Zebina Ratansi, Director of Nursing at Whipps Cross, who has been awarded a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in this year’s honours. The New Year Honours List for 2023 recognises the achievements and service of extraordinary people across the UK.
Described as an outstanding leader in nursing and a role model to many, Zebina has dedicated 38 years to the profession and has quietly led significant change and improvement in one of East London’s most challenged hospitals.
“I am shocked and feel very privileged to receive this recognition,” says Zebina.
Group Chief Nursing Officer, Caroline Alexander CBE said: I am so proud of Zebina on receiving this honour. This recognition helps to reflect the outstanding leader Zebina is, the impact she has had on the nursing profession, and the courage it took to take on a very difficult role at Barts Health, transforming the care provided at Whipps Cross Hospital over the last six years.
Zebina joined Barts Health in April 2016 as the Director of Nursing for Whipps Cross Hospital and says that “this has been the most challenging and rewarding position I have ever held.”
“I have always wanted to be a nurse ever since I was little. As a little girl I would help the elderly ladies in my community with walking when they were less able to. I would also help with general chores they needed assistance with, which would usually end in a thank you in the form of a piece of cake and sometimes beautiful earrings!”
“I also spent some time volunteering at the Aga Khan Hospital in Tanzania, through a sponsorship programme offered by the Global Ismaili Community. My job there was to facilitate leadership development for the senior nurses and help with developing quality score cards.”
“I would say my biggest achievement to date is completing my MSc and writing a chapter on acute liver failure in the liver nursing textbook while at King’s Liver Unit where I spent 16 years of my career. I’m also very proud and passionate about developing supporting roles in critical care and enabling a strong nursing leadership at Whipps Cross.”
Her dedication and passion for nursing has enthused and motivated the Whipps Cross nursing team to strive for excellence in patient treatment and care. Ward leaders speak passionately about the impact Zebina has made in encouraging and empowering them to be the most effective leaders they can be.
During the pandemic, Zebina also provided strategic leadership of our nursing critical care response on behalf of her peers in the other hospitals within the Group. Zebina was also a member of a pan London group of senior nurses, who originally met following the first pandemic wave, to think strategically about the broader critical care nursing workforce. She took on the role of Director of Nursing for the London Critical Care Cell which demonstrates the great impact she has had.
“The impact of covid on nursing and especially on critical care nursing has been enormous, but we have learnt a lot from this experience and will keep on building on this learning,” notes Zebina.
Zebina is a shining example of a compassionate and inclusive leader who embodies the values of the NHS. Her genuine care and commitment to both the profession and the people she serves.
On the horizon: excellence and diversity
“I am nearing retirement in the next few years and would like to handover Whipps Cross in a strong position. I would also like to explore job opportunities that push forward our diversity and inclusion agenda and hopefully be able to start a programme that focuses on the development and promotion of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) staff at Barts Health into senior leadership positions. Whipps Cross has been successful in developing ward managers into matrons and matrons into senior nurses, and I would like to broaden this approach to the wider Barts Health group.”
Zebina is an exemplar role model who is committed to the impact of inclusion and diversity on compassionate care. Whipps Cross now hosts the annual Mary Seacole Conference celebrating diversity.
A word of encouragement to junior nurses and those considering the profession: “Nursing is an amazing career, to be an exceptional nurse you need both the science and art of nursing. It is such a privilege to be able to help and support people at such a vulnerable time. This privilege needs to be approached with much respect and humility.
Also honoured was critical care consultant Lt Col Jeyasankar Jeyanathan who receives an OBE.
Jey, who is currently undertaking a secondment in our ECMO unit at St Bartholomew's, was recognised for his 20+ years in the Army and his relentless endeavours throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
He recently joined the hospital on a temporary basis from St George's.