New research by Dr John Aggergaard Larsen, Research Fellow at the European Institute of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Surrey suggests that overseas-trained nurses working in the UK experience racist or xenophobic discrimination that often works through subtle ‘little things’ occurring in everyday interaction. The research, which is based on in-depth interviews across England and Wales, and was presented at the BSA Conference 2006 on 22 April 2006, reveals that this can have severe consequences for the life and well-being of the nurses, as it can also impede their career development chances.
Overseas nurses may feel bullied or socially isolated at work. In the research some nurses described how they are always given the jobs performed in solitude, they are confined to sitting by themselves during breaks or patients and relatives avoid approaching them, preferring the white healthcare assistant. Furthermore, overseas nurses feel frequently singled out for negative attention when colleagues make a formal complaint over minor issues that generally go unnoticed if performed by a British colleague.
The career development for overseas nurses can be seriously hindered by the social marginalisation they experience. Rather than actively being treated badly, some report how they see their British colleagues being supported and advised by clinical managers who allow them to ‘act up’ to a higher position or brief or train them before a promotion interview. This unequal treatment means that overseas nurses are in a disadvantaged position in the workplace.
Stuart Miller | alfa
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