The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has published the second of its reports examining the experiences of nursing and midwifery staff, with a particular focus on diversity.
The first ‘Ambitions for Change’ report was published in October 2020. It looked at the impact of the NMC’s regulatory processes on staff from different backgrounds and who have different diversity characteristics.
The findings revealed that people had different experiences of the NMC’s processes depending on who they are. Examples of these discrepancies included the following:
- Black, Asian and disabled health and social care workers experienced lower progression and pay.
- Lower acceptance rates onto NMC-approved nursing and midwifery courses for black and Asian students.
- In relation to case progression, cases involving black nurses and midwives are more likely to progress to the adjudication stage compared to white professionals.
- Black professionals reporting higher rates of harassment, bullying or abuse from managers and colleagues at work and are more likely to enter the formal disciplinary process compared to white staff.
Phase Two: Research into NMC processes and people’s diversity characteristics
Phase Two of the research aims to use qualitative research to find out why these discrepancies exist, and why some professionals have different experiences of NMC’s processes than others. It presents the findings from earlier research, and reports progress against ongoing work.
Introducing the second ‘Ambitions for Change’ report, the NMC stated:
“As the independent regulator of more than 758,000 nursing and midwifery professionals, we’re committed to doing everything we can to eliminate discrimination, tackle inequality, celebrate diversity and promote inclusion.
“It’s essential that we recognise people’s experiences of discrimination – and the absolutely devastating impact this can have. Most of the professionals we spoke to as part of this research felt one or more of their diversity characteristics, such as their ethnicity and/or gender, played a part in their referral from their employer and said an ‘insider/outsider’ culture left them feeling unsupported.
“Together we must target these inequalities, which have no place in the working environment of our professionals or the care that people using services receive.”
The report identifies the main root causes behind the differences for professionals with different diversity characteristics. These include:
- Issues with the NMC’s processes which affect all professionals, but exacerbate differences for some groups.
- Issues with individual employers which means that professionals are properly supported when going through NMC processes, or aren’t referred appropriately.
- Wider systemic issues within nursing and midwifery which perpetuates ‘insider’ and ‘outsider’ cultures.
The report also lays out the next steps to address these root causes, taking action at three different levels. This includes improvements to regulation, training and development, working with individual employers as part of the NMC’s fitness to practise processes, and working with partners and stakeholders to better understand wider systemic issues.
The full Ambitions for Change 2022 report is available here.