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How can I ensure that I am not biased towards gypsy travellers?

  • Comments (12)
  • Article: Francis G (2011) Attitudes towards Gypsy Travellers. Nursing Times; 107: 39, early online publication.
  • Author: Gill Francis is health inclusion worker for Travellers and Gypsies at Homerton University Hosptial, NHS Foundation Trust, London.

This article tells you about:

  • This ethnic group
  • Health problems of Gypsy Travellers
  • Negative attitudes and bias towards this group
  • How you can overcome negative attitude and bias 

You would be likely to reference this article if you were researching:

  • Ethnic minority groups
  • Prejudice
  • Stereotyping

In what situations will this article be useful to me?

  • It will help you to explore your own perceptions of this group
  • It will help you to offer health care without bias

Questions for your mentor/tutor

  • How can I ensure that I am not biased towards this group?
  • What should I do if I notice prejudice from other health professionals?

Student Nursing Times Decoder

  • Minority ethnic group: a group that has different national or cultural traditions from the majority of the population
  • Gypsy travellers: Romany Gypsies and Irish Travellers are legally recognised as ethnic groups.   In terms of health and education, they are one of the most deprived groups in the Britain.
  • Racial discrimination: this is when an individual or a group is treated less favourably on racial grounds than others in similar circumstances.

 

  • Comments (12)

Readers' comments (12)

  • Adam, before Nursing, and before my previous career, I gained a degree in both Social Science as well as Psychology, just to give you a little background on where I am coming from on this. I understand completely the various theories on the subject, such as Allport's theory of categorical thinking, which what many people confuse prejudice for. But that 'instantaneous and unconscious judgement from us' as you say, is NOT in any way, in and of itself tantamount to bias, prejudice, racism or anything else. The ACT of bias, prejudice, racism, etc is VERY different from the unconscious groupings we instinctively make.

    What is NOT helpful, and in my opinion actually makes things worse in many cases, is the automatic assumption that people WILL be biased or prejudiced as a result. This patronising paradigm is rampant in Nursing, as evidenced by this article. I am not however naive enough to assume that all Nurses will not be prejudiced, as I said we are all human and do form views based on our own experiences. But I will argue that for those of us who DO have certain views on anything, and this can be race, gender, class, a particular act or lifestyle choice such as drug taking, whatever, then we are professional enough to treat the patient as an individual regardless of our personal views. That is part of the very definition of professionalism. I for example have very strong personal views on smoking and drug taking, does that mean when I have smokers or drug users as patients I will not treat them to the utmost of my ability or different than any other patient? Of course not!! We are certainly professional enough to be given the courtesy of not being automatically designated as biased or prejudiced.

    What is a much more helpful way to discuss this issue as I said earlier is instead of assuming we will all automatically be biased, by simply talking about any given culture, it's values, it's practices, etc, and discussing how these can be incorporated into or supported by Nurses in everyday practice. Very easily done without assuming that those who may not be aware of certain intricacies of varied faiths or cultures because they have not been exposed to them, will automatically be biased.

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  • Adam Roxby

    Hello Mike

    I too should give you a bit more background on myself, I have a grounding in Psychology but not to level of your education.

    I think we might disagree in some elements but I would say that you are right in that perhaps a more general and neutral approach should be taken.

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