Anti-discriminatory Practice

In this a reflective essay the author will discuss the concept of anti-discriminatory practice as a contemporary issue in children’s nursing, in particular disabilism. An observed incident from practice placement will be reflected upon to analysis the implications for personal and professional nursing development. Reflection on an experience has been developed as a learning tool in professional education in order to help promote the integration of theory into practice (Schon 1991). The author has chosen to use Gibbs model of reflection (1988) to analysis the situation.

All names have been changed to ensure confidentiality in accordance with the Nursing and Midwifery Code of Professional Conduct, Section 5, (2004). Article 14 of The Human Rights Act 1998 states that everyone has the right to be free from discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, disability, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status. Discrimination within the nursing profession is explained by Moonie (2002) as a decision to deny one person or group the same rights as another.

Neil Thompson (1997) proposes a model to understand the different levels on which discrimination and oppression operates – the personal, cultural, and structural model known as PCS analysis. The letter ‘P’ refers to the personal level, in the form of individual thoughts, actions and feelings and attitudes. This level interacts with and is influenced by the ‘C'(cultural) level, which is embedded in the structure of society which operates within the ‘S’ (structural) level, the structure of society. It highlights the problems that show discrimination operating at different levels, each reinforcing and being reinforced by other levels.

The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 states that Disability Discrimination is the act of unlawfully treating someone less favourably because of his or her disability, this links into the Nursing and Midwifery Council Code of Professional Conduct stating that as a registered nurse you must not discriminate in any way against those in care. (2004) According to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (2007) there are different types of discrimination: Direct discrimination: This refers to treating people less favourably than others because of their age, gender, race or disability.

For example, if a residential home does not offer an old woman accommodation because she is black, the woman is a victim, of direct discrimination. Indirect Discrimination: This is when conditions are set that exclude certain groups. For example, if an organisation decides not to employ a person because of a disability they have but their disability would not affect how well they do the job then they are indirectly discriminating that person. Victimisation Discrimination: This is when a person is treated less favourably because they have made complaints about an organisation.

For example, if a woman in a residential home complained about how the home has been decorated, then the staff may lower the quality of care they provide her because of her complaint. Harassment: This is when an individual is spoken to in an inappropriate way, which upsets them. For example, Carers in residential homes may use formal language when speaking to white residents but informal language when speaking to black residents, this would make black residents feel that they are not respected and lower their self-esteem. (www. equalityhumanrights. com)

The observation from practice placement took place on a busy children’s ward. According to Contact a Family (2007) In the UK, there are 770,000 disabled children under the age of 16. That equates to one child in 20. The rationale for the author’s choice is that the patient was the only disabled child encountered on practice placement and was a valuable example of bad nursing practice. Chris was a physically disabled fifteen year old boy who was admitted to the ward from accident and emergency on a very busy day. The ward consisted of a large bay with twelve beds and ten cubicles predominately used for babies.

On arrival to the ward accompanied by his mother, Chris was shown to a cubicle at the end of the corridor with his named nurse Helen to be assessed and admitted. Shortly after being admitted Chris’ mother came to the nurse’s station to say that she had to rush off to an appointment but would be back within the hour and that Chris needed to go to the toilet and wanted a nurse to help him. Present at the nurse’s station was Helen and a Student nurse. As the ward was very busy and all the staff we’re preoccupied with other patients therefore the student nurse offered to help Chris to the toilet.

Helen replied, “Oh i’m sure he can hold on, we’re too busy at the minute, I’ll do it when I get a chance”. Over an hour later, assuming Helen had already helped Chris, she was overheard telling one of the other nurse’s at the station that Chris had been incontinent while in his wheelchair as she had forgotten to help him and that he was very upset and embarrassed. Every Disabled Child Matters (2006) states that every family with disabled children have the right to ordinary lives and should be fully included in society.

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