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Victor Tapah

Victor Tapah

Victor graduated from our BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing course in 2019, and now works at the Royal Papworth Hospital. Originally from Cameroon, and arriving in the UK as a refugee, Victor shares his story.

Victor was born in Cameroon and has a background in accounting and finance. He fled Cameroon in 2012 to England, at the age of 24, with no knowledge of England or English./p>

"I was persecuted for not agreeing with how the country has been ruled by the same man, Paul Biya, since 1982. In September 2019, more than 600 people were arrested for peaceful protests again the civil war in the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon, in The Anglophone Crisis and a lot of them are still in prison today.

"Leaving my family and friends was hard, but moving out was my only chance to feel safe and have a minimum of freedom."

On arrival in the UK, Victor went to the Refugee Council who organised his transport to the Home Office in London to apply for asylum. While he waited for his claim to be considered, Victor lived in dilapidated accommodation in East London and started to take English language courses.

He spent years as an undocumented individual/asylum seeker, and refugee, which changed his perception of life, wealth and happiness. He decided to take a risk and reoriented his profession towards something where his daily actions would make others smile. This led him, without knowing what was ahead, to apply to study nursing at ARU.

He joined ARU without any experience of the health sector, and is now a registered nurse working in the Intensive Care Unit/Clinical Care Area in one of the best and largest cardiothoracic hospitals, Royal Papworth Hospital. Victor’s tutors believed in him and supported him throughout his time at ARU.

“My fondest memory of ARU is my first placement in a nursing home in December 2016. As a novice in the health field, I was sent to bring the commode and I walked into the sluice and could not find it, and do you know why? Because I was unable to differentiate between a commode and a bedpan.

I still remember the worry I had, and the doubt that I had created for myself as to whether I had made the best choice for myself. However, once back at University, I explained the situation to my tutor who found it funny but motivated me to look forwards and understand that it takes time to get used to new post graduate certificate in management critical ill patient situations. Additionally, my classmates, who later became friends, then colleagues, and who I now consider family have been very supportive.”

According to Victor, the daily challenges of life, either in Cameroon or overseas, have given him a deeper life experience, which he uses not only as strength and determination to continue, but also to support and coach others. He believes ARU took him through some key moments in his nursing journey, and today, he tries to bring his skills together and shape his way forward.

Victor has just completed a postgraduate certificate in management of critically ill patients at the University of East Anglia and says: “The only limits in your life are those that you create in your mind.”