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At least they've avoided that angel stereotype: Asian nurses confront racist abuse and views that their profession is "on a par with prostitution"

August 24, 2004 -- Today the Times (U.K.) ran a short unsigned piece reporting that although the British government is spending millions of pounds to increase the number of nurses and physicians who are ethnic minorities in the National Health Service, Asian nurses there face negative cultural and racial attitudes.

First, the piece describes a Nursing Standard report about an NHS "pilot recruitment scheme" in Berkshire that is visiting mosques, schools and "Asian women's groups" in an effort to change attitudes, since in "some Asian cultures, nursing is considered on a par with prostitution." Wasim Ahmed Khan, founder of the All-Pakistani Nurses Association, reportedly told Nursing Standard that fewer than 200 of the roughly one million Pakistanis in the U.K. were on the nursing register. That comes out to less than 1 in 5,000. The US and Canada each have about 1 nurse per 100 citizens.

The piece also reports on a recent Public Health News item noting that according to a survey by the union Unision, 90% of Filipina and Indian nurses working in Belfast hospitals "had been racially abused or assaulted." Unison said that employers who recruited the nurses had been surprised by the level of abuse, and the union was "calling for anti-racist education in the province."

Of course, apart from the horrific effects such attitudes and actions have on the nurses themselves, those who deter nurses from providing care for their own communities are not exactly displaying a keen instinct for self-preservation.

See the Times (UK) article "Racists hit drive for nurses" in its August 24, 2004 edition.


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