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Hidden in plain sight: celebrating nursing diversity - exhibition at the Royal College of Nursing

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A new exhibition at The Royal College of Nursing in London celebrates the diversity of the nursing workforce and its historical relevance to the profession.

Hidden in Plain Sight: Celebrating Nursing Diversity charts the contributions of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) nurses, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT+) nurses and nurses with disabilities from the First World War to the present day.

Featuring artefacts, photos, letters and personal items of RCN members, the exhibit shines a light on the roles of lesbian nurses in the First World War and the contributions of BAME nurses throughout the mid twentieth century. The exhibition also showcases the work of Deaf mental health nurses who have improved services for D/deaf patients.

The exhibition launched on 11 October with a special event to commemorate Black History Month. Special guest Yvonne Coghill OBE, Director of Workforce Race Equality Standard Implementation at NHS England, will share her reflections on her work to challenge racism within the health service and its relevance to delivering better outcomes for all patients and staff.

Exhibition events

Running until 10 March 2018, the RCN will host further events inspired by the exhibition, including an LGBT+ History Month reception in February, events examining how men became registered nurses and a poetry night highlighting the importance of communication in mental heath care.

Wendy Irwin, RCN Diversity & Equalities Co-ordinator, said: “This is an inspiring exhibition, which celebrates the diverse lives of nurses who despite their contributions to the profession, struggled to be recognised and were often overlooked.

 “I am proud to launch this exhibition during Black History Month, which brings this important part of nursing history to life and shows its significance to today’s health service. It highlights why we must champion equality and inclusion in the NHS and tackle systemic discrimination across the health and social care sector.”

See the exhibition at Royal College of Nursing, 20 Cavendish Square, Marylebone, London W1G 0RN; website.

(image copyright Royal College of Nursing)

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