Rangena Tilkaran

Rangena was born in Carolina, Trinidad in 1950 and went to San Juan Secondary School and Furlong College in Trinidad. Both her parents and grandparents were also born and lived in Trinidad but her maternal great grandparents came from India. She arrived in the UK on 31 August 1970 and chose to come here, rather than conduct her nursing training in Trinidad because she had read so much about the UK. She completed her nursing training at Harefield and Mount Vernon School of Nursing and her midwifery training in Luton and Dunstable. She returned briefly to Trinidad in 1974 following some work as a staff nurse in England, but did not enjoy working in a private hospital, so returned to train as a midwife. Her first post was as Staff Nurse in Harefield Hospital.  Whilst there the first heart transplant in the country was conducted on one of her patients. She worked for both the old Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital and the Hammersmith Hospital, helping to transfer patients and services from the former to the latter. Together with the consultants she was one of the key people responsible for the development of the West London Gynaecology Cancer Centre at the Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust, now Imperial College NHS Trust. Ultimately she was employed to work as Lead Nurse and Manager for Gynaecology for Imperial College NHS Trust, retiring in April 2008. She continues to be very active in her local church, working in her retirement training primary health care workers in both Sri Lanka and Brazil, running courses in money management and providing individuals with career development support. Rangena was also awarded an MBA which she studied for at Henley Management College and clearly remains extremely active in her retirement.

The importance of initial support and kindness

When I received the letters to train either as a teacher or a nurse my parents gave me the choice. When I chose nursing my father sold a cow to pay for my air fare! They were happy that I chose a career but obviously concerned that I would be on my own and didn't know anyone. They were pleased when I told them that I had met Dr and Mrs Brian Rogers. They used to be missionaries in East Africa and without them it would have been very difficult, my first time here in this country.

Rangena Tilkaran

Trinidad