Celebrating the Contribution of Nursing and Midwifery in Contemporary Irish Society

The School of Nursing, Health Sciences and Disability Studies at St. Angela's College are delighted to collaborate with the Irish Universities Association, brining together a series of webinars to raise awareness on the contribution that nursing and midwifery, are making across the provision of health care in Ireland. In particular, the seminars will focus on clinical practice, education, research, as well as specialist and advanced practice. They will also explore the role that nurses and midwives, have been playing in the supporting the national effort during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Working with colleagues from Trinity College Dublin and Dublin City University, the title of this November webinar is 'Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in Nursing and Midwifery Education'.

What do we mean by Diversity and Inclusion?

Diversity – in the US, diversity seems to have a meaning related to culture, ethnicity and race. In the UK diversity seems to be included in equality narratives and has a broader meaning, with relevance to any underrepresented social groups.

Inclusion – is often spoken about in terms of frameworks; how to identify and measure it and what steps to take to ensure it – individually (our mind sets), collectively (our culture) and systemically (our institutions).

The obligation of the Nursing Profession to contribute to a just society

“The study findings challenged the profession to embrace the possibilities of increasing its diversity and inclusiveness, with the ultimate goal of building a better, stronger, more just profession and a better, stronger, more just society” (Berry, 2010)

Excellence in the profession and the educational institutions that prepare members cannot be achieved without diversity and inclusion being embedded in their mission.

“An organizational culture that values diversity and inclusion is essential for the achievement of high-quality nursing education” (Cary et al, 2020)

“…academic environments only become excellent when an inclusive climate is reached.” (Bleich, McWilliams and Schmidt, 2015)

“…a lack of tolerance for difference within the profession, but not simply in relation to cultural or physical difference. They described a lack of acceptance within the profession of different ways of thinking and being—referred to in the study as diversity of thought. They reported that the profession expected and reinforced conformist thinking and tended to support the status quo.” (Berry, 2010)

The requirement for public services to be representative of the societies they serve.

If we look at the demographics of the nursing profession (and our national student body) and see whether our general population make-up is represented all the way through the profession.

In the general population - 50.36% are women, 13.5% are disabled, 5-7% identify as LGBTQI 17.8 are non white-irish and 0.7% are members of the Traveller community.

Are these proportions replicated in the profession?

“Societies in the developed world are becoming increasingly diverse….. Society’s institutions, including the health care system and its professional groups, are increasingly challenged to enhance their understanding of and respect for such societal diversity in providing services, and to work to reflect this diversity in the makeup of their membership” (Berry, 2010)

“…the nursing profession currently expected its members to represent the norm-- white middle class females.” (Berry, 2010)

“…demographics of the health professions workforce, including nursing, have been slow to change.” (Relf, 2016)

What can we do about it?

Mainstreaming, which has the aim of improving equality for marginalised groups, seeks to ensure that the target social group is visible, empowered and participating in every sphere of public and private life (adapted from the UN Gender Mainstreaming Policy) may have something to teach us here.

What do we want to achieve in the Seminar?

  • Identify the need for a change in our thinking?
  • Create an opportunity to think about the value of diversity and the importance of inclusion?
  • Propose a framework for change?

Join us on Monday 29th November 2021, 12-1pm.

Register HERE