Researchers in Bedfordshire are looking into effective ways to boost the number of British people from South Asian backgrounds going into nursing.
Under the pioneering scheme, run in conjunction with Health Education England, people from South Asian communities in Luton have been given the chance to learn more about courses and careers in nursing and midwifery at a series of “outreach” events.
“We want to show the South Asian community that studying nursing and midwifery… is a real possibility for them”
The project is being spearheaded by the Bedfordshire University’s Institute for Health Research, which has so far staged an event at well-known Luton venue Crescent Hall and another at the university specifically aimed at young people.
These included a performance by students studying for an MSc in public health to highlight key findings from research on the reasons why South Asian people are under-represented on nursing and midwifery courses and in the profession more generally.
The piece was written and directed by performing arts student Bhargavi Gopalan and performed in English, Urdu and Punjabi.
Findings from the events will be used by Health Education England to inform future recruitment campaigns, according to organisers.
Programme lead Nasreen Ali, a senior research fellow from the university’s school of healthcare, said increasing diversity in the NHS was important as there was evidence it could reduce costs, improve patient and care and led to better health outcomes.
Drive to attract more South Asian people into nursing
“Through this project we want to show the South Asian community in Luton that studying nursing and midwifery courses, and having a career in these areas, is a real possibility for them, and that studying at the university can open a door to a rewarding and fulfilling career in the NHS,” she said.
Katie Adams, national programme manager for widening participation at Health Education England, said the NHS currently “falls short of being a truly diverse workforce”.
“We are working hard to change this and to demonstrate national action in supporting and building a diverse workforce that encourages people from all walks of life, where success is based on merit, ability, motivation and values,” she said.