The personal costs of caring: nurses and nursing work

Watson, Naomi (2013). The personal costs of caring: nurses and nursing work. In: Caribbean Studies Association 38th Annual Conference, 3-7 Jun 2013, Grenada.


African Caribbean nurses have been major contributors to the British NHS following its inception after World War two, and after the arrival of the Ship HMS Windrush. It has been acknowledged that without their contribution, the NHS may not have survived to the present day. As invited migrants from the Caribbean, they were introduced into a largely hostile social and work environment, where no preparation had been made to receive them. Consequently, this resulted in a lack of appropriate housing, and the social, educational and welfare needs of their children were severely compromised. This resulted in largely negative outcomes for them and their children in terms of their physical and mental health, and the educational achievement, of their children. These poor outcomes were further exacerbated by long unsocial hours in the newly formed NHS, and isolation and discrimination from host communities. This paper aims to investigate the evidence relating to the impact of their experiences on their lives and the lives of their children. It will use a case study approach to fully explore the impact of unsocial hours and night duty work and examine the implications for their children’s career choices.

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