Racism and discrimination at work: what support is available?

Equality 4 Black Nurses founder Neomi Bennett shares the personal impact of racism and unconscious bias

Vector illustration depicting a black nurse holding her hands to her face amid a thunderstorm
Illustration: iStock

From microaggressions to false accusations, black and minority ethnic nurses experience many forms of racism at work, but what support is available to help emotionally, therapeutically and legally?

The latest episode of the Nursing Standard podcast hears from nurse innovator Neomi Bennett, who set up Equality 4 Black Nurses, a group that provides support and expert guidance for nurses who have experienced racial discrimination in the workplace.

Ms Bennett speaks to RCNi senior news reporter Kimberley Hackett about the personal impact of racism and the support, weekly Zoom meetings, mediation and therapy that the group offers.

Group's buntu buddies system

Ms Bennett, who won the Innovations in Your Specialty category of the RCNi Nurse Awards 2019, also explains the group’s ‘buntu buddy’ system.

Buntu buddies are nurses who understand the insidious nature of discrimination and unconscious and conscious bias, and so are equipped to support colleagues experiencing inequalities.

The word buntu comes from the African concept of ‘ubuntu’, meaning we are only human through the humanity of others.

Equality 4 Black Nurses, which has about 1,000 members, also welcomes white nurses who want to help with the group’s mission to stand up against racism.

The group was set up in 2020 in response to the disportionate impact of COVID-19 on black and minority ethnic nurses, the death of George Floyd and the growing Black Lives Matter movement.

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Equality 4 Black Nurses