Education on pressure area care ‘overwhelmingly’ focused around patients with white skin, finds study

This is despite 13% of the UK population being made up of patients from BME communities.

James McKay
2 September 2020
BME Patient with nurse

Only brief and superficial information is provided about pressure damage and darker skin tones.

Student nurses are rarely taught about how pressure damage can appear on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BME) patients, according to a new study.

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The study, Embedding skin tone diversity into undergraduate nurse education: through the lens of pressure injury, was published last week in the Journal of Clinical Nursing (JCN) and concludes that nursing education “overwhelmingly” focuses on patients with white skin.

Neesha Oozageer Gunowa, a lecturer in community nursing at Kingston and St George’s universities in London, Joanne Brooke, a professor of nursing at Birmingham City University, and Australian nursing academics Debra Jackson and Marie Hutchinson co-authored the study.

Evidence for the study was collected during 2017 and 2018 from five Higher Education Institutes in England delivering pressure area education on approved nursing undergraduate programmes.

It revealed that overwhelmingly, the education, teaching and learning activities about pressure injury were focused on patients with Caucasian skin tones.

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Despite 13% of the UK population being made up of those BME communities.

Only “brief, separate and superficial” information was provided to students about pressure injuries and darker skin tones.

The authors of the study encourage educational institutes to reflect upon their teaching methods and call for “diversity and inclusivity in nurse education” – with a focus on how patients with varying ethnicities and skin tones are included and represented in teaching.

The study comes at a period in time when racial equality has been brought into the spotlight.

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