Leadership Development for IENMs - TweetChat Alert!

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With an outstanding and growing reputation for providing leadership development programmes which address specific needs of nursing and midwifery staff, we at the Florence Nightingale Foundation (FNF) are pleased to share our plans to create a bespoke, blended Leadership Programme for International Educated Nurses and Midwives (IENMs) working in the UK.

In partnership with Burdett Trust, access to a leadership development programme will start in September 2022, with the opportunity for 2000 IENMs who work and live in the UK. This programme is to go alongside a mixed method (qualitative and quantitative) study, which aims to explore the impact of the programme on experience, retention, and career progression of IENMs. Through the work produced by the research, it is proposed that the findings from the programme evaluation will inform the basis of the future national professional development strategy for IENMs. Our hope is that the programme contributes to addressing issues which have impacted on career progression experienced historically by nurses and midwives from ethnic minority backgrounds. At the end of the programme, participants will become FNF alumni, and all will then have the opportunity of applying for additional FNF leadership offers.

Now, you may be wondering… why? Slow down. What is the need for this programme? And what is happening behind the scenes to get this programme right?

Well, first and foremost, we know that the UK has valued the contribution of internationally educated nurses and midwives for many years in order for the NHS and the wider health and social care system to operate. Currently, there is a huge need to recruit and retain healthcare workers. Figures from the past few years and future predictions reveal worrying levels of staff shortage. The English government has pledged to increase the number of registered nurses in the NHS by 50,000 by no later than 2025, with 38,000 being recruited from overseas (Department of Health and Social Care, 2022). Alongside this pledge is a wish to improve or build upon development programmes that the NHS has in place for internationally trained nursing staff. To create a ‘destination of choice’ they want to ensure that higher quality induction and pastoral care is firmly in place through the development of a sustainable and ethical international nurse recruitment delivery model. FNF, in partnership with the Burdett Trust for Nursing, aim to enable the development of international nurses and midwives who are recruited to work in the UK, helping them to achieve their potential and ensuring that their value and expertise are recognised.

For context, as a starting point to the study portion of this programme, the Research and Policy Team at FNF has conducted a review of literature as a national mapping exercise to identify current leadership support provided to IENMs transitioning to practice in the UK. Throughout said review is detailed experiences of discrimination and the impact on personal and professional lives, job satisfaction, progression, and stagnation. We also discovered limited leadership development opportunities designed for the unique needs of IENMs.

Historically, IENMs have described being treated poorly, and even inhumanly, when relocating to the UK. They have shared experiences of unjust discrimination from the public and also colleagues, management, and board level healthcare professionals. See statistics below, plus the research of (Alexis, Vydelingum, & Robbins, 2007),  (Allan, Cowie, & Smith, 2009), (De, 2010), and (Rhead,, et al., 2021).

Statistics from the NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) explores this, and provides us with a reflective overview of the systematised and complex racial discrimination within this country, and within the NHS itself (Wilkinson-Brice & Emmanuel, 2022). Though data shows slight positive progression between 2016 and 2021, in areas such as staff from BME backgrounds making up board members in the NHS (7.1% up to 12.6%), representation is still poor (Wilkinson-Brice & Emmanuel, 2022). With a few statistics pulled from this resource, we sadly see data which shows that in 2020, 16.7% of BME NHS staff had personally experienced discrimination from colleagues, including management and team leaders. This is recorded to be at the highest level since 2015 (Wilkinson-Brice & Emmanuel, 2022). Another example pulled from the stats is the 36.2% of staff from an ‘other’ Asian background, including those other than Bangladeshi, Chinese, Indian, or Pakistani, experienced bullying, harassment, and abusive behaviour from their patients or the public generally (Wilkinson-Brice & Emmanuel, 2022).

All in all, to challenge these historic experiences as well as the stagnation of professional progression that IENMs face, this project has the potential to enhance the retention and progression of this essential workforce. More importantly, it will enforce how we as a country value the significant experience and expertise this cohort brings to the profession.

We want to alert you to an upcoming opportunity you have to get involved. Run by the Research and Policy Unit at the Foundation, and hosted by @WeNurses on Twitter, we are running a TweetChat on Tuesday, 28 June at 8pm! We aim to fill the hour slot with discussions on the leadership aspirations and development requirements of IENMs. More details, including the questions we will be asking during the TweetChat, will be shared on the WeCommunities site in the lead-up. And the hashtag #StayAndThrive will be used throughout this chat.

If you would like to hear more, or get involved, please keep an eye on our socials. Don’t forget to follow us @FNightingaleF on Twitter. Alternatively, you can email Research and Policy Assistant Stacey Chambers at [email protected]

Works Cited

Alexis, O., Vydelingum, V., & Robbins, I. (2007). Engaging with a new reality: experiences of overseas minority ethnic nurses in the NHS. The Authors. Journal compilation, 2221-2228.

Allan, H. T., Cowie, H., & Smith, P. (2009). Journal of Nursing Management, 898-906.

De, D. (2010). Are international nursing students disadvantaged by UK patients? Professional Issues, 1299-1305.

Department of Health and Social Care. (2022, March 7th). 50,000 Nurses Programme: delivery update. Retrieved from GOV.UK: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/50000-nurses-programme-delivery-update/50000-nurses-programme-delivery-update

Rhead,, R. D., Chui, Z., Bakolis, I., Gazard, B., Harwood, H., MaCrimmon, S., . . . Hatch, S. L. (2021). Impact of workplace discrimination and harassment among National Health Service staff working in London trusts: results from the TIDES study. BJPsych Open, 1-8.

Wilkinson-Brice, E., & Emmanuel, A. (2022). NHS Workforce Race Equality Standard. NHS.