Trust Mary Seacole Scholar publishes report about experience of minority ethnic nursing associates


Trust Mary Seacole Scientist Publishes Report on Ethnic Minority Nursing Experiences

Written by a research nurse at the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, a new report explores the experiences of a group of ethnic minority nurses and suggests improvements to help ensure that this relatively new role and staff in that role can reach their full potential.

This report is part of the Mary Sicol Foundation Development Award, which was awarded to Caroline Spring at Imperial College Healthcare in 2019. Carolyn joined the Trust as a Research Nurse in 2017 and was again awarded a PhD in 2020 by the Imperial Healthcare Charity. scholarship to continue her work on the role of assistant nurses.

Currently, about 65 percent of nursing assistants participating in the nursing assistants program are from ethnic minorities. NHS England Workforce Race Equality Standard data consistently demonstrates that these ethnic groups face discrimination and greater barriers to career advancement.

Eight ethnic minority nurses were interviewed or completed a questionnaire and provided details of their experiences for analysis. Five main themes have been identified:

  1. Lack of role understanding on the part of colleagues – Auxiliary nurses felt that their role was constantly discussed, and sometimes there was pressure to work beyond the established parameters in order to meet expectations.
  2. Role Mismatch – Participants tended not to view their role as a “bridge” between paramedic and registered nurse, as found. They felt they had many of the responsibilities of a Registered Nurse in caring for patients.
  3. The Importance of Patient Interaction – Auxiliary Nurses have been passionate about caring for patients and much of their professional recognition and confidence comes through these interactions.
  4. Ethnicity and Issues of Concern – Nurses were less likely to express concerns about emotional issues they might face, such as those experienced by racism, discrimination or a pandemic.
  5. Work Challenges During a Pandemic – Auxiliary nurses, like many NHS staff, worked in new ways during the Covid-19 pandemic, prompting anxiety and a desire to change practices.

As a new group of employees, participants suggested that they often felt like pioneers, since there was no one in this role to look at as an example. It is important to note that the report highlighted the strong ambition and desire of AOC to ensure that this role was successful. The report provides several key recommendations for improving and providing additional support to ethnic minority aide nurses.

The role of assistant nurse was introduced in England in 2017 in response to a 2015 Shape of Caring survey led by Lord Willis of Knaresborough to ensure that nurses and caregivers receive a consistently high quality education and training. This role was conceived as a “bridging role” that enabled the careers of healthcare professionals and helped registered nurses complete more complex tasks. Imperial College Healthcare became a pilot site for the Assistant Nursing program in 2019.

Recommendations from the report include recognizing the challenges faced by nurses, supporting and recognizing their contributions, collaborating between policymakers and employers to improve clarity of roles and professional identities, developing ambassador and mentoring schemes, and increasing the visibility of learning and development opportunities. , improved monitoring of the well-being of nursing staff, and better access to resources that provide support and safe places to voice concerns.

Commenting on the report, Director of Nursing Professor Janice Sigsworth said: “Nurses are highly regarded members of our team, providing vital, high-quality patient care and allowing Registered Nurses to focus on other key areas of care. Because the role is so new, research like this provides us with valuable insights into the experiences of our employees, which helps us understand what works and what doesn’t, so that we can make improvements for both the well-being of our employees and patients. care.

“We are very proud of Caroline’s contribution as a scientist to Mary Sicol and are reviewing her report in detail to make sure we take into account all the findings and recommendations. In addition to examining some of the specific issues raised, such as examples of discrimination, we are also taking steps to respond to and address some of the broader concerns and ultimately to enhance the experience of our employees so that they can continue to deliver great results. caring, and at the same time a sense of support. ”

The trust has already taken a number of steps in response to questions raised in the report, including:

  • Improving pointers to nursing aids resources, including career paths
  • Improving the information available to all staff about assistant nurses to help improve a broader understanding of the scope of the position
  • Empowering Nurses to Participate in Collaborative Decision Making in the Path to Excellence Program
  • Create a single point of contact for nurses to voice concerns or discuss concerns and advice

Commenting on her report, Carolyn Spring said: “Many thanks to the research participants for sharing their time, knowledge and experience. This study highlighted a number of key issues that need to be addressed to support the well-being and equitable development of ethnic minority nurses. This report presents some initial ideas, but more work is required to fully explore how this new role is being implemented in our NHS. It is great to see that Imperial College Healthcare is beginning to respond to some of the challenges raised in this study. ”

Caroline will conduct additional research on the views of healthcare professionals and registered nurses on the role of assistant nurses with financial support from the Imperial Heathcare Charity. The findings will help further improve understanding of this new role. Please email [email protected] if you would like to participate.


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