Black History Month
October signals another Black History Month. It brings with it an opportunity to celebrate the ongoing commitment that Black, Asian and other minority ethnic nurses, healthcare workers and students have made and continue to make to the NHS.
I pay homage to the nursing pioneers who broke down barriers and paved the way for future generations of Black, Asian and other minority ethnic nurses. These trailblazers faced and continue to face unacceptable challenges. Racial discrimination impacts on their lives day in and day out. Holloway (2023), reports in The Voice, that many workplaces are ‘hostile environments' for Black workers, which may well be having a detrimental impact on employees’ mental health.
Despite these obstacles, these nurses persevere, displaying incredible resilience and determination and at the same time providing high-quality, safe and effective care to people in a wide spectrum of care settings.
However, these prosaisms being made here by a white male, cannot begin to address how, in 21st century Britain, 87% of Black people surveyed have reported that they expect to receive a substandard level of healthcare because of their race (Semple et al, 2023). The British Black Voices Project (University of Cambridge, 2023) reports on the experience of being Black in Britain. This is a national survey of 10 000 Black Britons along with in-depth interviews of leading Black British commentators. The aim was to build understanding, drive change, increase prosperity, improve policy, overcome obstacles and maximise participation in key institutions and professions – this is a big ask.
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