Journal Article


‘Only for the white’ : a qualitative exploration of the lived experiences of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic midwifery students  

Abstract

Background. An ethnically diverse workforce has been identified as a key component of safe, compassionate maternity care, and yet midwifery remains a predominantly White profession across the Global North. Understanding the experiences of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic midwifery students is key to addressing this disparity. Objective. To capture the university and placement experiences of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic midwifery students in a culturally White environment. Methods. A qualitative approach underpinned by a feminist, inductive, interpretivist paradigm informed a study undertaken with student midwives studying at three separate universities in South East England. Five virtual focus groups and two semi-structured interviews were conducted with thirteen current student midwives and one preceptee (recently graduated) midwife self-identifying as Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic. Analysis was inductive, data-driven and thematic. Standards for Reporting Qualitative Research recommendations have been used to formulate this report. Findings. Although some participants reported positive experiences and felt well-supported, an overarching narrative emerged of midwifery as an exclusive and White profession. Institutionalised Whiteness was experienced in university, in placement and within individual student cohorts. Four themes were identified: ‘being an outsider’, ‘prejudice, discrimination and racism’, ‘nowhere to turn’ and ‘positive forces’. Conclusions. Racist and discriminatory beliefs and practices in some midwifery education and placement settings negatively impact student experience and are likely to result in poorer care being provided to Global Ethnic Majority women and families. An unwillingness among some White educators and students to recognise the presence and impact of inequitable and racist environments, and a lack of clear, acceptable, and effective pathways for students to use to raise and discuss concerns, makes it difficult to challenge and change this injustice.

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Authors

Okiki, Carina
Giusmin, Giada
Hunter, Louise

Oxford Brookes departments

Department of Nursing

Dates

Year of publication: 2023
Date of RADAR deposit: 2023-10-03


Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License


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