Kuldip Kaur Bharj

Kuldip was born on 12 June 1953 in Kenya where her father was a teacher. On retirement, Kuldip’s father decided to bring his family to England, mostly because of the educational opportunities that would be available to his children, so they migrated in 1966 when Kuldip was 13. Kuldip and her brother attended secondary school in Bradford, taking some of their GCSEs a year earlier than their classmates. She had always wanted to go into medicine, and when she didn’t quite get the grades for medical school, was about to start a course in IT when her father spotted an advertisement for nursing. After qualifying as a Registered Nurse and Registered Midwife at the Bradford Royal Infirmary, she secured employment as a staff midwife in Bradford taking a lead in providing ante natal classes for South Asian women. She was then promoted to Sister in 1978. She expressed an interest in teaching obstetric nurses and after obtaining her teaching qualifications she entered midwifery education in 1981 and is currently a Senior Lecturer in Midwifery at the University of Leeds.

Initial negative experiences

I was on nights and the Sister in charge had said, ‘you look after this side of the corridor and we'll look after that side’.  But the night got very busy, the Sisters who were looking after this particular patient had to go into theatre so I was amongst some others left behind to look after the delivery suite. The woman went into established labour, then called for help. I went in and carried on helping and assisting her to birth and afterwards, her partner came and gave me a big hug like they normally do. By then the Sister had come out of the theatre and in the staff room she said, 'I'm surprised he gave you a kiss', and that's when I found out that they didn't want to be cared for by Asians.

Kuldip Kaur Bharj

Kenya