We are Turning the Tide: RCM champions career development and support for Black, Asian, and minority ethnic midwives
A new mentoring scheme has been launched by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) in collaboration with the Turning the Tide Oversight Group to support Black, Asian, and minority ethnic midwives and maternity support workers (MSWs) in their career development. The RCM has also called on the NHS to provide similar support for staff.
The scheme grew out of findings in the Turning the Tide report published last year. This highlighted historic and endemic inequalities faced by Black and Asian healthcare professionals in the NHS, and those of mixed ethnicity. Among the report’s recommendations was a call for support through a mentoring programme, something to which the RCM responded as part of its Race Matters and Caring for You initiatives. Working with Turning the Tide report author Dr Gloria Rowland, the RCM has developed a mentoring programme which goes live today.
Suzanne Tyler, the RCM’s Executive Director for Services to Members said: “Every day staff of colour face racism, discrimination and prejudice that can have a serious impact emotionally and professionally. There is a real gap in the support available to these staff, which is why I am delighted that today our new mentoring programme goes live to help fill that gap. Mentoring helps career development, enhances skills and experience, and widens the networks that staff can go to for more advice and support.
“We must see changes in the culture of the NHS to have real equity and equality. This means eradicating racism and removing the barriers to career development and progression that these staff face. There is a dearth of senior leaders of colour in maternity and we hope this mentoring programme will be a catalyst for positive change for these staff and the wider NHS.”
The programme will work by bringing together experienced NHS professionals from inside and outside maternity services, and from different leadership and management positions, as mentors. The platform will then help to pair-up - almost like a dating site - midwives and MSWs of colour with a mentor.
Mentees will come to the platform, look at the mentor profiles, and approach the one they feel can help and support them. Each pair will then decide how they want to meet, whether virtually or in person, how often, and how long their mentoring relationship will last. It’s expected they will meet for one to two hours over six to 10 sessions, spread over six to 12 months. Some basic guidance and rules around how it will work for each mentor and mentee will be in place, along with resources to set objectives, reflect, and log the learning and development.
Dr Gloria Rowland, Chief Nurse at Southwest London Health and Care Partnership and South-West London CCG and author of the Turning the Tide report, said: “I am very delighted to see a practical delivery of one of the recommendations in the Turning the Tide Report. Implementation of an effective mentorship programme for Black, Asian, and mixed ethnicity midwives and MSWs was the most common theme of our findings.
“Everyone needs a mentor someone you can trust that wouldn’t judge you based on the colour of your skin and would genuinely seek to support you to reach your career goals. Co-developing the mentorship platform with staff from Black, Asian, and mixed ethnicity, would demonstrate the sense of joint ownership and co-designing solution to racial discrimination.”
Initially the mentoring scheme is open to open to Black, Asian, and minority ethnic midwives and MSWs, but there are plans to widen this to all midwives and MSWs in the future. The platform will also link to other RCM resources that support career development such as its online learning platform i-learn.
Dr Rowland added, “This scheme can only do so much to change things. Governments and NHS employers must also shoulder their responsibility and take steps to make the NHS a better place for staff of colour, because it is long overdue.”
To access the RCM Turning the tide mentoring platform visit https://rcm.onpld.com/
To contact the RCM Media Office call 020 7312 3456, or email [email protected].
Notes to editor
For more information on the RCM’s Race Matters work, see Race matters (rcm.org.uk).
To read the Turning the Tide report visit The experiences of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people working in NHS maternity services | North East London Health & Care Partnership (eastlondonhcp.nhs.uk).
For information on the RCM’s Caring for You programme see Caring for you hub - home - RCM.
If you are an experienced senior midwife, MSW or NHS health professional who is prepared to volunteer as a mentor please contact [email protected]
The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team. We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance, and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences, and online resources. For more information visit the RCM website.