Karen Hutchinson MSC RMN.RGN. 38 years and still counting.
I am really saddened by the lack of the media representation of Black nurses and indeed people of colour in the fight against COVID-19. But I am not surprised. After 38 years of working as a nurse in various health settings… this is my unfortunate ‘norm’. I was in a national advert to recruit nurses to the NHS some 20 plus years ago, so I personally shoulder some of the responsibility in encouraging nurses of all colours to join this wonderful profession.
I want to let you all know that We, Black Nurses, are there. At the ‘front line’, the middle, and in the background. We are there!!
We sometimes work in the ‘less glamorous roles’ so we are often NOT seen as the important integral role in ensuring that the health system continues to work effectively. The Health Service of the United Kingdom encompasses professionals of various ethnicities, races and backgrounds, in a multitude of health settings, of various specialties, supporting, encouraging each other whilst trying their hardest to fight this pandemic.
I want to make it very clear I know that we do have colleagues and there are many, many patients who are NOT racist.
However, as professionals, we acknowledge the differences of race, colour, religion, sex. We aim to provide the best care that we can, at times working alongside people – our colleagues and patients – that are blatantly racist and those who are not so skilled in hiding how they feel about black nurses and people of colour. The media has highlighted what they think too. No surprise, as this also reflects a proportion of society.
Despite this, we go back, day after day, year after year, making constant sacrifices to provide care for some people that don’t even care for us. We won’t stop doing what we do, because you don’t like us or because you do not give us accolades. We will continue to do as our forefathers and mothers have done because we care.