Royal College of Nursing Scotland celebrates nursing diversity

Royal College of Nursing Scotland celebrates nursing diversity

On Thursday 26th April 2018 we attended The Royal College of Nursing Scotland (RCN), the world’s largest professional body and trade union of nurses and health care support workers, launch event for a new exhibition that celebrates the diversity of the nursing workforce. The launch event in Edinburgh, attended by around thirty people, was in collaboration with SWAN (Scottish Workplace Networking) – a networking group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Scotland.

The Hidden in Plain Sight – Celebrating Nursing Diversity exhibition certainly opened our eyes to the vital roles that have been historically overlooked and up until now haven’t really had the spotlight shone on them. These include the role of lesbian nurses in the First World War, the contribution of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic nurses throughout the mid twentieth century, and the ways in which deaf mental health nurses have improved services for deaf patients at pioneering hospitals over the last few decades.

The intimate exhibition is an interesting one, and includes a mix of historic items and images, along with more recent artefacts such as LGBT+ badges used to promote the RCN’s support of diversity and inclusion at LGBT+ Pride events.

The launch event was opened by Therese Fyffe, RCN Scotland Director, and included presentations from Dame Donna Kinnair, RCN Director of Nursing, Policy & Practice, Robert Cole, Co-founder and Treasurer of SWAN and Carole Anderson, Chair of SWAN and Head of Strategy and Performance at the Golden Jubilee Foundation. Following the presentations there was a Q&A with lots of questions from the audience.

Photo : A selection of images from the exhibition launch event | Photo credit : Thomas Anderson

“This is an inspiring exhibition, which celebrates the diverse lives of nurses who, despite their contributions to the profession, struggled to be recognised and were often overlooked.”

Dame Donna Kinnair explored why the RCN is celebrating diversity in nursing, with reflections and observations about the importance of diversity and its relevance to delivering better outcomes for all patients and staff. At the event she said : “Whether it’s a mental health nurse, whether it’s somebody whose working with the deaf, working with the blind, one of the best things about a career in nursing is that you can’t nurse unless you know the culture of others and learn and understand it. You can’t treat someone with respect unless you have that understanding.

“I think it’s absolutely right and proper that the Royal College of Nursing, that represents nurses, hosts this exhibition. I think this is brilliant and I also think to actually capture the legacy of these nurses history and their stories is vitally important.”

Sian Kiely, RCN Scotland’s Knowledge and Research Manager, said : “We are delighted to be honouring the wide diversity of the nursing workforce with our latest exhibition. 

“This is an inspiring exhibition, which celebrates the diverse lives of nurses who, despite their contributions to the profession, struggled to be recognised and were often overlooked. It brings this important part of nursing history to life and shows its significance to today’s health service and highlights why we must champion equality and inclusion.”

SWAN Chair, Carole Anderson said : “I’m particularly pleased that we are holding this event, as I know how important it is for our health and social care workplaces to be open, inclusive environments for the benefit of patients, staff and service users. Although research and feedback tells us there’s still work to do, significant progress has been made.”

‘Hidden in Plain Sight : Celebrating Nursing Diversity’ is open to the public at RCN Scotland, 42 South Oswald Road, Edinburgh, EH9 2HH between 10am-4pm on Monday, Tuesday and Friday from 26th April until 12th October 2018. It is free to enter.

Did you know?

The NHS would grind to a standstill without the contribution of its black and minority ethnic (BME) staff. A fifth of nurses and midwives and a third of doctors are from BME backgrounds.

Did you know?

The highest ranking Health and Social Care organisation in Stonewall’s 2018 Workplace Equality Index is the North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust – who are position No46 in the Top100 list of LGBT inclusive employers in the UK.

Did you know?

The RCN diversity champions programme recruits and develops leaders and role models for diversity and equality of opportunity. They now have over 500 registered diversity champions who help change attitudes and practice in their workplace.

Did you know?

In 2017 Michelle Quested became the first person in a wheelchair to work on the frontline of the NHS. The dedicated nurse was determined not to let her disability, caused when she was involved in a car accident, get in the way of her clinical work at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

About The Author

Thomas Anderson

Founder and MD of Inclusive Networks. Thomas was Chair of the award winning LGBT network for The Co-operative Group, ‘Respect’ (2011-14). Thomas named the network and designed and managed all of the branding, communications and engagement until he stepped down from the role of Chair in March 2014. He also created the branding, name, was Editor of the quarterly magazine and developed the launch of the UK’s first Inter-Retail LGBT network ‘CheckOUT’. He contributed to the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index 5 Year review. In recognition of his work in the diversity field he was shortlisted for ‘Diversity Champion of the Year’ at the 2013 European Diversity Awards, shortlisted for ‘Role Model of the Year’ at the 2012 Lesbian & Gay Foundation Homo Heroes Awards and shortlisted for the ‘Positive Action’ award at the 2013 Asian Fire Service Association Fair & Diverse Awards. He also won the 2012 ‘Pride of The Co-operative’ award. He was a judge for Scotland's biggest diversity awards, The Icon Awards in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

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