BME and overseas nurses work longer hours

Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) and Internationally Recruited Nurses (IRN) are more likely to work longer hours, have additional jobs and be bullied at work than their white UK colleagues, according to research.

The findings come in a new report from Employment Research Ltd commissioned by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

The web-only publication, Black and Minority Ethnic and Internationally Recruited Nurses, gathers results from the RCN's 2002 and 2005 Employment and Working Well Surveys to throw light on the problems facing BME nurses and IRN's in the UK.

Longer hours
The report shows that nearly two thirds (60 per cent) of Afro-Caribbean nurses have a second job, compared to an average of 28 per cent of white UK qualified nurses. It also found that over two thirds (70 per cent) of all female, Afro Caribbean respondents working in the NHS as staff nurses are the major bread winner - accounting for more than half their household income. This compares to 44 per cent of the equivalent white group of nurses.

BME nurses also have to work longer to reach higher grades than white UK nurses. On average BME nurses worked 15.1 years to reach senior ward sister level, with white nurses taking an average of 11.8 years.

BME nurses and IRNs in particular are more likely to be employed on the basic starting grade for newly qualified nurses and junior staff nurses. This proportion increased from 2002 to 2005 with fewer BME and IRNs employed at senior grades than previously.

More bullying and harrassment
BME nurses also suffer a higher incidence of bullying and harassment than white colleagues. Over a third (36 per cent) of BME nurses reported being bullied or harassed by another member of staff in 2005 compared to 21% of white respondents.

The RCN's report follows findings of the Healthcare Commission's Race Equality Audit, which found that NHS employers were failing to meet their statutory duties to address race discrimination and promote racial equality.

Dr Peter Carter, General Secretary of the RCN,, said: 'This publication sheds light on the real problems facing these nurses, who contribute so much yet seem to be getting short-changed for their efforts.

'This report highlights the real need to address this issue and tackle these inequalities.'

Black and Minority Ethnic and Internationally Recruited Nurses was published on Wednesday, 7 March 2007. The full report can be viewed and downloaded from the RCN website at

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