A CHESTER nurse was invited to a prestigious event with His Majesty King Charles III at Buckingham Palace on November 14.

Internationally recruited mental health nurse, Blessy Pappachan, was chosen to attend the event hosted by The King, which celebrated the contributions of international nurses and midwives working in the UK's health and social care sector.

Originally from India, Blessy moved to England from Saudi Arabia in 2021, where she had been working as a nursing lecturer for nine years.

Speaking about her move to the UK, she commented: "Working in a lecturing role, I was missing direct patient contact, so when the opportunity arose to move to England and join the NHS as a mental health nurse, I jumped at the chance. I thought it would bring lots of exciting opportunities and would be a great way to develop my nursing career."

Chester and District Standard: Blessy Pappachan pictured outside Buckingham Palace.Blessy Pappachan pictured outside Buckingham Palace. (Image: Cheshire and Wirral Partnership)

Through the NHS international nurse recruitment programme, Cheshire and Wirral Partnership (CWP) was able to offer Blessy a job in 2021 and has since supported her to complete the objective structured clinical examinations (OSCE), which has enabled her to gain her Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) professional registration. Blessy currently works as a mental health nurse on Juniper Ward – an adults’ mental health inpatient unit at Bowmere Hospital in Chester.

Blessy was chosen to meet The King as CWP’s first international nurse to pass the OSCE exams and gain her NMC pin and complete her preceptorship.

Blessy said: "I was so excited when I received the invitation. I didn’t expect it at all and I know there are lots of amazing international nurses within CWP and the wider NHS. I never thought I’d be given an opportunity like this but meeting King Charles was amazing – I’m still on cloud nine!"

In July 2023, CWP was awarded the prestigious NHS Pastoral Care Quality Award for its work in international recruitment and for demonstrating a commitment to providing gold standard quality pastoral care throughout the recruitment and employment process.

Gary Flockhart, Director of Nursing, Therapies and Patient Partnership at CWP, said: "Our international nurses like Blessy are a greatly valued and important part of our workforce here at CWP. They bring a wealth of knowledge, experience and diversity that benefits our patients, our staff and the wider organisation, and helps us ensure we can provide the best possible care for those who access our services."