Being a member of one of the largest unions in the UK for over 8 years paying my monthly subscriptions without fail. I was devastated with the way I was treated when faced with racial bullying, discrimination, unfair dismissal and referral to the Nursing and Midwifery Council. (NMC). Despite me being the only Black nurse in a very white environment and despite years of bullying towards me, when the allegations began to emerge against me, my union representative did not recognise institutionalized racism or agree to defend me based on race discrimination. Eventually I had no choice but to go it alone and hope for the best.
Unfortunately, I was unfairly sacked and the NMC restricted my practice by putting condition on my practice, which meant I could only care for my patients under supervision of another registered Nurse. I am the victim of racial bullying, and as a consequence of speaking out I in turn am labelled as risk to the public. I was angry, emotionally drained, and frustrated but because I know the allegations about me were not true, this keeps me going. Followed all their instructions. The odd fact though, It takes the NMC two years to investigate the false allegations. I attended the Fitness to Practice Hearing, All the documentations in support as exhibits were either falsified by racist colleagues or not true. This is my true experience of being a Black Nurse in the NHS.
I was invited to an Interim Order Hearing on the 16th July 2021 and I did not know what to do. Laying on my bed one evening and going through my email, I came across an email from Equality4BlackNurses with the title “Union refused to represent Black Nurse” it talked about how a union rep did not believe that a nurse was faced with racism in her clinical area of work. This resonated with me and I opened the link. I was eager to learn more as I read the story, and further supporting information about what Equality4BlackNurses stands for.
I was in doubt whether I should contact Equality4BlackNurses and share my story. The apprehension came from my experience of Black representation in other Union style groups is only they’re for the name but not representing black Nurses.
I decided to give it a go after all I have nothing to lose and that I am not a criminal or done anything that I should be ashamed of. The swift response I received from E4BN shocked but amazed me. From that night my Black nurse colleagues (members of E4BN) were on the phone encouraging me and motivating me till morning for my hearing when Neomi Bennett the founder of E4BN’s appeared on the hearing challenging the panel, Neomi informed the panel that black nurses are being disproportionately referred to the NMC.
Neomi used the words abuse of process and gave the panel an educated session on how racism infects the institution and how the NMC were unconsciously supporting the process by turning a blind eye to the lack of evidence in my case and many cases of competency issues against Black Nurses. Neomi went on to say that many referrals are racially motivated, fictitious and lack evidence. I felt a thousand strong supports. The hearing was unpleasant when the NMC lawyer began to speak bad about me, but i remained strong in the truth and comforted as I was no longer doing this alone. After a deliberation of 3 hours we received the great news that the restriction order that was placed on me, was revoked with immediate effect.
I can now finally breath - I wish to say a very big thank You to Equality4Blacknurses for the tremendous support within a very short notice.
We encourage black nurses to contact Equality 4 Black Nurses if you receive an allegation from your employer. We will help you to write a factual statement and show you how to demonstrate your nursing competence and skills during responding to the allegations. Oftentimes, emotions are running high and Black nurses might respond in a way that can be used against them unintentionally. As a Black nurse, people often see the worst in us, we sometimes are disbelieved and the system was not made for us. If you have found yourself in this predicament, please try not to worry, get in touch with us via our website or our social media accounts and we will support you.