Background: UK ‘home grown’ (people of South Asian ethnicity, born or socialised in Britain) South Asian (Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Indians) are underrepresented in the NHS nursing and the allied health workforce. One of the key goals of Health Education England’s (HEE) national framework- Widening Participation-It matters! is to increase understanding and evidence on the specific needs of underrepresented groups as they apply, commence and progress on healthcare courses and careers. There is a dearth of evidence on the views of UK ‘home grown’ South Asian prospective students. This study aimed to explore UK ‘home grown’ South Asian students views on the barriers and enablers to choosing nursing and midwifery courses and progressing into healthcare employment.
Methods: A total of nine focus groups were conducted. Four focus groups in two schools/colleges in the town of High Wycombe (n=28) and five focus group discussions in two schools/colleges in Luton (n=27).
Results: The main themes emerging for barriers to choosing nursing and midwifery courses and careers were: limited personal, parental and community knowledge influencing perceptions of nursing and midwifery, the role of religion and culture, gender roles-‘not man’s work’, the end of NHS bursaries and racial and religious discrimination. The main themes for enablers were presented as: good information available on applying for nursing or midwifery courses and suggestions on how to widen participation for South Asian groups.
Conclusion: To increase numbers of UK ‘home grown’ South Asians on nursing and midwifery courses and in healthcare employment, targeted interventions that raise the profile and status of nursing in the South Asian community should be designed and delivered.
Nasreen Ali, Irtiza Qureshi, Tamanna Sidika and Andrea Mondokova
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