Rethinking nursing in an era of superdiversity

On Monday, 16 October, IRiS and the School of Nursing hosted our first joint workshop, Superdiverse Nursing – “What is the patient experience?”. The workshop aimed to explore the opportunities a superdiverse nursing workforce could offer in improving the patient experience in a number of healthcare settings. The event opened with a keynote address from Professor Dame Elizabeth Anionwu who spoke about her childhood and the experiences that shaped her entry into nursing and subsequent career. Elizabeth pioneered nursing approaches to caring for patients with sickle cell and thalassaemia syndromes as well as playing a key role in the successful Mary Seacole Memorial Statue Appeal for which she is now a life patron. She spoke of the need for diversity in the nursing workforce to ensure the cultural needs of patients are reflected and responded to appropriately.

IRiS Director Professor Jenny Phillimore provided an insight into superdiversity and healthcare practice. Professor Phillimore explained how the newness of superdiversity provides opportunities to develop  cultural knowledge and learn from patients who have had different experiences of other healthcare systems. Professor Julie Taylor  looked at the role of nurses in child protection, exploring how the nursing workforce can adapt and respond to cultural challenges around child protection and place the needs of the child at the heart of the issue.

This was followed by Dr June Jones. June explored the theme of ‘cultural safety’ in superdiverse societies, highlighting its greater value when compared to the often used term ‘cultural competency’ in nursing practice. June highlighted how ‘cultural competency’ places emphasis on the provider to assess themselves without taking into account the views of the healthcare receiver. ‘Cultural safety’ on the other hand explores the healthcare encounter as a whole, encouraging the receiver to identify with their own feelings of “being safe” in the experience. Employing a superdiverse workforce which understands the nuances of cultural safety and the feelings and experiences of a superdiverse patient population is a vital part of ensuring an effective and inclusive patient experience.

The event concluded with a presentation form Dr Caroline Bradbury-Jones on preparing a superdiverse nursing workforce for responses to domestic violence and abuse (DVA). Carrie highlighted how many nurses feel unprepared to address DVA with patients, often lacking training to handle the issue appropriately. Where issues of DVA occur in superdiverse communities, having a trained workforce with relevant cultural knowledge and/or direct experience of a particular community can help address the issue in a sensitive manner.

The workshop provided an introduction to an area of research which has great scope for development. IRiS and the School of nursing plan to develop future events and research projects in this area.


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