Georgie – BAME RVN and proud

Georgie BAME RVN and proud

What made me interview Georgie, a BAME Veterinary Nurse?  Well mainly because I was shocked by what Georgie said. During the black lives matter movement I was left feeling a huge range of emotions. From sadness and disbelief to thinking but that’s not an issue in the UK surely. Personally I don’t consider people’s colour when interacting with them. When I posted this on my Instagram Georgie called me out, she very politely pointed out that I was ignorant.

My first reaction was to disagree but then I think most of us probably are! We naively assume that people share our morals and believe the same things we do. We have faith that no one in our profession would be judged by the colour of their skin. I was shocked by some of the answers Georgie gave and I wanted to highlight that racism is everywhere. The levels may vary but it’s something we all need to be aware of.

Why now?

I’d held off posting this as the riots in London made me feel sick. Poor horses and police officers being targeted. Behaviour like that is just not acceptable. We all need to not group people together and tar them with the same brush. Yes what they were trying to say needed to be said but the actions of a few individuals compromised the message from the masses.

In order to keep this as a topic we talk about we have to be discussing it on a regular basis. Not just when it’s in ‘fashion’ or trending topic. So if you are in the minority in anyway I’d love to hear from you. Perhaps if we keep talking about the issues the minorities face we can start to change things. Remembering though that we don’t just need words we also need action.

What made you want to pursue a career in Veterinary Nursing?

My first reason is my love for both medicine and animals. When I found out about vet nursing, I started preparing for the career right away and then got my degree in it.

The second reason is due to my very ancient Westie, Alfie. I have had him since I was 10 years old and now that he is 17, I get to look after him throughout his retirement!

As a BAME Nurse what challenges did you face to get into the profession?

The application bit was fine, as I didn’t have to state my ethnicity. What I have found with a couple of University interviews is that people have been a little shocked with my appearance (My full name is typically “English”).

I’ve only had one group interview where I had been given an intentional hard question compared to other white candidates (I never got into to that university)

Have you encountered challenges in your career because of your ethnicity?

In the past, I have encountered subtle (And very obvious) racism from both clients and colleagues. There are jobs that I never got, but I’ll never know if this is due to my skin colour or not.

I have once been told that I was only hired for a job to bring diversity as the “token minority”. I did not last long there.

How do you think our profession can move forward in order to increase the percentage of BAME nurses?

The current percentage of BAME RVNs (As per RCVS 2019) is 1.9%! As RVNs, we need to be more proactive about this. In light of recent events, I have become more proactive.

I do agree that Veterinary Nurse Awareness Month is a good step in the right direction. There needs to be more highlight on BAME RVNs for awareness. I feel that sometimes we can be a bit shunned from the limelight.

BVEDS is a great resource for all those who want to learn more about diversity!

Are there any RVNs who have inspired you along the way?

Many! I’m ashamed to say I don’t know any prominent BAME members but people like the lovely Sam here, Lou Northway, Claire Roberts, Laura Rosewell, Vicky Ford-Fennah and Louise O’Dwyer are to name a few

Moreover, my work colleagues are my daily inspiration for the amazing work that they do!

Where do you currently work and what role do you have?

I am a theatre static nurse working at North Downs Specialist Referrals. You may never see me out front, but I prefer working in the background with tricky anaesthetics!

What’s your next step for you career-wise?

My next step is getting my Postgraduate certificate with the University of Edinburgh (And hopefully a Masters within the next few years). I’m also hopeful about giving more talks and pieces of literature in regard to both diversity and anaesthesia, so you might see more of me in the future!

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