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Experienced racism at work? New nurse resource aims to tackle abuse

NMC, which co-produced the practical guide, said it is determined to support nursing professionals to challenge racism ‘wherever they see it’

NMC, which co-produced the practical guide, said it is determined to support nursing professionals to challenge racism ‘wherever they see it’

A practical guide to help nursing staff tackle racial discrimination at work has been launched.

The resource provides tips and best practice examples on recognising and challenging racial abuse and harassment.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), which produced the document in partnership with NHS England and NHS Confederation , said it is determined to support nursing professionals to challenge racism ‘wherever they see it’.

NMC, which co-produced the practical guide, said it is determined to support nursing professionals to challenge racism ‘wherever they see it’

New nurse resource aims to tackle racist abuse in the workplace
Picture: iStock

A practical guide to help nursing staff tackle racial discrimination at work has been launched.

The resource provides tips and best practice examples on recognising and challenging racial abuse and harassment.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), which produced the document in partnership with NHS England and NHS Confederation, said it is determined to support nursing professionals to challenge racism ‘wherever they see it’.

Encourages nursing staff to speak out when they witness racist incidents

NMC chief executive Andrea Sutcliffe said: ‘I hope this resource will help our professionals to play their part in creating and sustaining an inclusive environment, where everybody is treated with the dignity and respect they have a right to expect.’

Advice includes encouraging nursing staff to speak out when they witness a racist incident and urging those who are racially harassed to keep a record of it.

How to address racism in the workplace

  • Immediately engage with those displaying discriminatory behaviours, regardless of seniority Keep your language and tone clear, calm and objective
  • Be an ‘active bystander’ by telling individuals that their discriminatory behaviour is unacceptable Intervene by directly stepping in, distracting away from the situation, escalating to someone with more authority or delaying action until after the event
  • Speak out when you witness a racist incident, even if it feels uncomfortable or you do not know the ‘correct’ terminology
  • When experiencing discrimination, keep a diary of incidents so that you have a record of what is happening and how it is impacting on you and colleagues. Talk to colleagues you feel safe with
  • Employers and leaders should make nurses feel able to expose barriers and lead change without negative repercussions

Source: NMC, NHS Confederation and NHS England (2022) Combatting racial discrimination against minority ethnic nurses, midwives and nursing associates

Some overseas nurses experiencing ‘overt and covert’ racism in the UK

The launch of the document, Combatting racial discrimination against minority ethnic nurses, midwives and nursing associates, follows concerns that some international nurses are experiencing ‘overt and covert’ racism when they come to work in the UK.

A report published earlier this year found female nurses from black and minority ethnic groups are most likely to experience abuse from their colleagues.

Meanwhile, care home nurse Beverly Simpson recently told Nursing Standard how she was left angry and broken after the patient repeatedly used derogatory racist language on a night shift and told her ‘to go back to her own country’.

Commenting on the anti-racism document, chief nursing officer for England Ruth May said there is no place for racism in the NHS ‘nor anywhere else’, and the resource will support nursing and midwifery professionals to ‘feel empowered to take action’ if they see or experience racist abuse.


Find out more

NMC, NHS Confederation and NHS England (2022) Combatting racial discrimination against minority ethnic nurses, midwives and nursing associates


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