Overseas nurses' experiences of discrimination: A case of racist bullying?

Helen T. Allan, Helen Cowie, Pam Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Aim We present three case studies of discrimination to illustrate how racist bullying as discriminatory practices operates in the workplace. Background Workplace bullying in the British health care sector is reported along with evidence of discrimination towards overseas-trained nurses recruited to work in the United Kingdom (UK). Methods The three interviews, which form the basis of the discussion in this paper, were selected purposively from a national study of overseas nurses because they present strong examples of the phenomenon of workplace bullying. The data on which this paper draws were collected through semi-structured, audio-recorded interviews and thematically re-analysed using nvivo V2. Results The national study showed how racism is entrenched in health workplaces. Our findings in this paper suggest that racism can be understood by the concept of racist bullying. There are four key findings which illustrate racist bullying in the workplace: abusive power relationships, communication difficulties, emotional reactions to racist bullying and responses to bullying. Conclusions We argue that the literature on workplace bullying adds a layer of analysis of discrimination at the individual and organizational levels which enables us to further delineate racist bullying. We conclude that racist bullying can be specifically identified as a form of bullying. Implications for nursing managers Our data may assist managers to challenge current workplace working practices and support bullied employees. The three interviews show different responses to racist bullying which allow us to explore some implications for management practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)898-906
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Nursing Management
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2009

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Discrimination
  • Overseas nurses
  • Racism
  • Racist bullying
  • Workplace bullying


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