A new anti-racism resource has been launched to provide nurses and midwives with the right tools to discuss, explore and challenge racism in the workplace.
NHS England, in partnership with NHS Confederation and the Nursing and Midwifery Council, is behind the initiative.
The resource is aimed at supporting nurses, midwives and nursing associates to combat racism against colleagues from a minority ethnic background.
“It is imperative that we continue to do more to tackle racism, create inclusive environments and learn more about what being anti-racist looks like”
While the initiative is focused on the NHS, those behind it say it will be useful for all nursing staff wherever they work in health and care.
The Combatting racial discrimination against minority ethnic nurses, midwives and nursing associates resource is designed to help nurses who experience or witness racism and to support those in leadership roles to be inclusive leaders.
It includes practical examples of how nursing and midwifery professionals can recognise and challenge racial discrimination, harassment and abuse.
In addition, the resource sets out to support NHS leaders and organisations to “champion staff wellbeing and psychological safety”, by outlining expected behaviours.
The resource also provides a “nursing and midwifery anti-racism framework”, informed by the insights of nurses, midwives and NHS leaders, and a rapid qualitative review.
Its launch follows this year’s NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) report which found registered nurses and midwives from minority ethnic backgrounds experienced more bullying from staff and more discrimination from managers and colleagues in 2020, compared with pre-pandemic.
The coronavirus pandemic placed a stark lens on the discrimination faced by nurses from a minority ethnic background.
As previously reported by Nursing Times, concerns had been raised that minority ethnic nurses were being treated as of lesser value and were being picked to work on Covid-19 wards more so than their White colleagues.
Dame Ruth May, chief nursing officer for England, said: “There is no place for racism in the NHS, and this resource, which is firmly rooted in our professional code of conduct, will support nurses, midwives and nursing associates to feel empowered to take action if they experience or witness racism or discrimination, while also acting as a useful tool for leaders and organisations.
“It is imperative that we continue to do more to tackle racism, create inclusive environments and proactively learn more about what being anti-racist looks like to help us support all our nursing and midwifery workforce, securing their wellbeing and enabling them to continue delivering high-quality care in safe environments.”
Meanwhile, Andrea Sutcliffe, chief executive and registrar at the NMC, said the organisation was “committed to promoting anti-racism” and “determined to support the professionals on our register to challenge discrimination wherever they see it”.
“We’re proud to have joined forces with NHS England and NHS Confederation to offer this new resource, which supports all nurses, midwives and nursing associates working in the NHS to tackle racism,” she said.
“It is focused on the NHS, but I hope it will be useful for everyone wherever they are working in health and care.
“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.”
Director of partnerships and equality at the NHS Confederation, Joan Saddler, stressed that the resource aimed to enable “staff on the ground experiencing and witnessing racism to take action”.
“By tackling the raft of documented and consistent staff experiences of racism, NHS leaders will also be supported to ensure robust procedures deliver their NHS commitment to a safe and respectful environment for all,” she added.