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Alumni of the month – February 2015 and May 2017

Ruth Oshikanlu
PgDip Community Health Care, 2006

Ruth Oshikanlu

Ruth Oshikanlu is a Senior Public Health Professional with over 20 years’ experience delivering secondary and primary health care services.

Ruth was our alumni of the month back in 2015. We recently spoke to her to see what she has been working on since then; she spoke about the changes to healthcare policy and how it has affected her and her colleagues. 

A lot can change in two years; how would you describe the period since we last caught up (2015 – 2017) and why?

A lot has changed in the last two years. Nursing and midwifery bursaries have been scrapped and replaced by student loans and public sector workers have had payrises capped at one percent. If I had to incur lots of debt to train as a nurse and midwife, many years ago, it would definitely have put me off entering the profession.  

However, despite all the challenges, I also believe it is a time of opportunity. We don't have control over the winds of change. What we do have is control over how we steer the sails. It is time now to develop strong self leadership skills, resilience and to seize and create opportunities especially in nurse entrepreneurship.

I am a nurse entrepreneur. I care a lot about what I do and the difference I make to those I serve. Caring is my business and I have made a business of that.  I left the NHS eight years ago as I found the bureaucracy stifled my creativity. I am working at developing my business to develop multiple income streams especially with the recent IR35 legislation. That is keeping me very busy. 

For me, variety is the spice of life. I keep very busy in my various roles by mentoring and coaching clinicians, mums in business, and teenage girls with low self esteem.  I regularly deliver guest lectures at several universities, speak at conferences, write for a publication and I am currently writing my second book. 

Do you have any thoughts on the future of healthcare and what might need to change, if it does in fact need to change? 

With the recent move in commissioning of health visiting services to local authorities, I am concerned that local authority funding cuts have meant that health visiting services are hugely under resourced, leading to the dilution of roles. There are now fewer places for training and the profession is much less attactive than it was; with many health visitors approaching retirement, it scares me that we have taken a few steps forward and many more backwards.

Nursing and midwifery unions have been fighting on our behalf to raise these concerns with the government. I think nurses and midwives also have to get political.  This is no time to bury our heads in the sand. We need to be seen and heard and use our influence to ensure that the children and families we serve continue to get excellent standards of care. We care for those we serve from preconception to the grave, in sickness and in health. I feel that nurses and midwives should recognise their worth more.   

Read more about Ruth's experience on her website.


From February 2015

For Ruth, 2014 was a hugely successful year as she scooped a host of industry awards including the Queen’s Nursing Institute’s Queen Elizabeth and The Queen Mother Award for Outstanding Service to Community Nursing. She is also a life and business coach, Managing Director of Goal Mind Ltd. and a published author.

Prior to studying at LSBU, Ruth returned to work following a year of maternity leave with a ten month old son to look after. As a single parent, the support a university could offer her was a critical factor in deciding where to study: “This was the first time I was undertaking academic study as a parent. So I needed an academic institution that would provide a high standard of training but also ensure that I would get the support required to complete the course.”
She knew that having a compelling vision and a passion to drive forward was important, but not enough. To achieve her ambitious goals, she had to surround herself with good people who could help along the way. Whilst the transition to full-time study was a shock to her system – to the extent that she almost quit during the first week – she soon found the solution: “One of the lecturers said this would be the most intense course I would undertake…and intense it was! But within a couple of weeks, I found two study buddies in a similar position and the support from the lecturers was also crucial. I still remain in contact with them to this day.”
Her mission is to leave a legacy that lives beyond her own years and last year, Ruth went a long way to ensuring this became a reality. A host of industry awards meant reward and recognition for her tireless dedication in helping families give the best start in life to their children: “Having personally benefitted from health care visiting at one of the most difficult times in my life – when I became a single parent – I have an intense desire to support women when they become mothers.”
In addition to receiving the title of Queen's Nurse, Ruth developed a toolkit to help pregnant women and new mothers tune in to the needs of their babies; she self-published “Tune In To Your Baby: Because Babies Don’t Come with An Instruction Manual,” designed so parents could use the manual as if they had Healthcare professional with them at all times. As a motivational coach and business owner, she also specialises in enabling individuals and organisations reach their personal and professional goals: “I love people and their development. I find the human mind fascinating and its vast potential which often remains untapped. I am passionate about enabling my clients to unleash their potential.”