On Monday, 4th November 2019, Ruth Oshikanlu MBE was conferred with a honorary doctorate degree from The School of Health and Social Care at London South Bank University (LSBU).

LSBU normally makes up to 8 honorary awards, each year; and are conferred based on the recipient’s “exceptional services to the University”.  There should preferably be some connection, whether academic, professional or personal, between the awardee and the University or its geographic area.  Honorary Degrees (Honoris Causa) are awarded to recognise individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to scholarship in an area relevant to a particular LSBU School. This would usually be considered as showing international standing within their field.

Ruth Oshikanlu MBE trained as a health visitor at LSBU in 2006 and has since gone on to carve out a successful and varied career as a nurse entrepreneur, nationally recognised senior leader in nursing, midwifery, health visiting.  She is a coach, mentor and author, she has done much to improve the lives of women and young people in London and beyond, and to raise the profile of the nursing profession.

Ruth has gone on to build an impressive portfolio career, from coaching other nurses and midwives through her company Goal Mind to creating the highly successful parenting programme Tune In To Your Baby.  She runs regular parenting clinics, and her work to reduce health inequalities includes supporting patients with sickle cell disease and HIV, pregnant teenagers and teenage parents, and young people struggling with substance misuse

Ruth was conferred the award by the Chancellor of The University, Sir Simon Hughes.  She then gave a keynote speech to the graduating students and their guests.  Ruth was privileged to have family and colleagues including one of the senior lecturers who supported her during the course, resulting in her getting a distinction!

In her acceptance speech, Ruth thanked her father who has been pivotal to her successful career; her son for being a daily inspiration and the strong matriarchs in her life – her mother and grandmother who resisted patriarchy, and showed her by the way they lived, how to stand against patriarchy and empower women and girls.  This has been the driver for a successful career in midwifery and health visiting.

Ruth concluded her speech by saying: “

You will face many nay-sayers who will tell you: You Can’t!  I urge you to respond as I always do: Watch Me!

You will fail many times.  I have done!  But don’t let failure stop you.  Embrace failure!  Learn from it!  When you were learning to walk, you fell so many times.  It did not stop you.  So, when you fail, keep tweaking what you do until you succeed.

And when you do, celebrate them and share your successes as they inspire others to keep striving too!  Learn to blow your own trumpet.  No one else will blow it for you! That is what I have done as I continue my mission to be With Woman, With Child.

The dots do not always connect going forward.  But then one looks back and sees how they connect.  Looking back, I am so glad I chose to study at LSBU. 

The training I received was excellent and prepared me for a beautiful career in health visiting. 

So, whenever I get a call from the wonderful members of The Alumni, I am so delighted to give back to the University that contributed to making me a passionate health visitor.

I urge you, upon graduating today, get involved with shaping those coming behind you!  As you rise, take others up with you.  Then you will never have to complain of isolation at the top!

Finally, I want to leave you with a quote from one of my sheroes, Maya Angelou: “If you’re always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be!”

 So, Enjoy your career!  Stand out! And Be AMAZING!

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