Lorraine Dyer Bizek: Trailblazer and mentor

Lorraine Dyer Bizek, one of the first Black Bermudians to train in the UK, was Bermuda’s first Queen’s Nurse.

Nursing was her first love. She started out at the Bermuda Nursing Home. In 1937, she left Bermuda for Birmingham General Hospital nursing school. She became a State Registered Nurse in 1941 and a State Certified Midwife in 1943.  She qualified twice as a Queen’s Nurse, earning the credential first in Scotland, then in England.

Her qualifications, history-making achievement and experience, which included caring for bombing victims during the Second World War, did not hold much weight in Bermuda. During a visit home in 1947, she applied for a position at KEMH and was told she was overqualified. England became her permanent home after that. She took a course to become a Health Visitor and worked as a public health nurse.

She was a trailblazer who encouraged family and friends to follow in her footsteps. Her nephew Edward Dyer took up nursing at her suggestion. He qualified in the UK as a Registered Mental Nurse and  State Registered Nurse  and became Bermuda’s first male nurse. He started his career in Bermuda at St. Brendan’s Hospital. He later joined the Prison Service and moved up the ranks to become Commissioner of Prisons. His sister Maura Jean Hendrieth is also a UK-trained nurse. She worked in Bermuda for a short time, but moved to the US upon her marriage to an American.