Black British and Black Caribbean Women’s Trajectories through the Wildernesses of Subordinated Spaces, (NHS workplace) and Unfamiliar Places (Higher Education): An Autoethnography

Warren, Peggy Phencheater (2018) Black British and Black Caribbean Women’s Trajectories through the Wildernesses of Subordinated Spaces, (NHS workplace) and Unfamiliar Places (Higher Education): An Autoethnography. Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.

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In 2014, the NHS Five Year Forward View (FYFV) set out new models of care and care strategies. Amongst them was the introduction of the role of Assistant Practitioner (AP). The AP role was positioned at Band 4 (of 9) on the NHS Careers Framework, gained through the successful completion of a foundation degree (fd). Those already in employment accessed the fd through day release to university and work-place clinical skills development. A qualified AP would work under the supervision of a registered nurse.

This thesis examines and centralises the experiences of ten Black British and Black Caribbean women’s experiences of the fd programme and its impact on their personal and professional identities. It (re)tells, (re)captures and (re)presents their accounts of getting in, moving on and getting through Higher Education. This study disrupts the silence of Black women in the NHS. Black Feminist Methodological Stance is put to work to centre and privilege Black women who transitioned through the research process unearthing, examining and unapologetically speaking their ‘truths’.

The analysis is intentionally theoretically provocative, it uses performative autoethnograpy to present the voices of the women through characters in fictional settings. The characters use the works of predominantly Black philosophers to critically reflect on their experiences of education. Their exposures to philosophies and their sharing of life leads them to Black feminist epistemologies. This study demands engagement, it challenges all who access it, to come and reside in our spaces… to feel the discomforts… to rethink the stereotypes… to speak of the biases… then to co-align with us… it questions… challenges… and seeks honest approaches to fairness in nursing education and professions; two areas, where for seven decades Black women have been professionally subordinated and exploited. This thesis demonstrates the courage of the author to engage in research which breaks the silence of Black women in NHS and makes the theorised assertion of our ‘right to write’ as Black women about Black women. The presentation of the data as performance autoethnography, renders this work accessible to the contributors, as well as significant and important for academic scholarship. This study strives for engagement, it resists recommendations which, historically are ineffective liberatory tools of the master’s house, in that they fail to make a difference to the Black women’s assigned subordinated space. Finally, this work challenges Black women in the NHS to become active agents of their professional emancipation.

New Knowledge Contribution:

This thesis contributes the following new knowledge: The production of a literature review which resists the normative approach to the production of a thesis, it utilises oral accounts which work to both contradict as well as illuminate accounts presented in written text.

It retells the stories of ten Black female Health Care Assistants (HCAs). Because of their low professional status, HCAs are generally invisible and voiceless in research studies. This study centralises their experiences, making them visible, therefore providing a partial illumination of their educational experiences.

The literature provides Black nurses of the 21st Century with an example of how Black nurses in the past coalesced to redress the inequitable nursing education provision they experienced during colonial times. Black nurses of the Caribbean broke the nursing profession’s class ceiling securing positions previously solely reserved for Caucasians. The unearthing and presentation of Black Caribbean women’s nursing education history provides Black nurses with a positive self-liberatory learning example from Caribbean nurses of the past.

This study demonstrates the courage of the author to present the data analysis as performance autoethnography, in so doing, it renders this work accessible to the contributors, the academic as well as ordinary members of the Black community. This thesis strives for engagement and discussion asking questions of institutions rather than being prescriptive and autocratic (making recommendations). It also challenges Black women in the NHS to become active conduits of their own professional emancipation rather than awaiting ‘redemption from those using the tick box tools of the ‘master’s house’.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: “When talking about their lives, people lie sometimes, forget a lot, exaggerate, become confused and get things wrong. Yet, they are revealing truths. These truths don’t reveal the past ‘as it actually was’ spiriting to a standard of objectivity. They give us instead the truths of our experiences. Unlike the reassuring truth of scientific ideal, the truths of personal narrative are neither open to proof or self-evident.” (Personal Narratives Group 1989:261) Acknowledgements: I would like to acknowledge God who purposes each of his creation, who I choose to align with as I strive to make my small ‘world’ a little fairer than it was when I joined it. Before I embarked on this journey, I spoke to my brothers sharing my dream, they didn’t doubt me, they encouraged me and strangely promised that, ‘I would not starve’. I have been totally spoilt by their cuisines and ‘doggy bags’ over the past five years. One love Butto and Bill for the cooking and bredda for the listening. To L.A. Lawson, my superbly tolerant sounding block, thank you for the multiple hours you invested listening, as I tested out my private thoughts before I ‘outed’ them on paper. You are a dependable friend and I appreciate you. My ‘world’ is the way it is because of the grounding of Vincent Charles Warren. He raised a daughter who is: ‘likkle but tallawa.’ Major, as we affectionately call him, will always be my number 1 superhero and inspiration. Thanks to Professors Alex Kendall and Joyce Canaan for their support, guidance as well as their belief in me. Their approach to supervision enabled, encouraged and empowered me to do this study my way; to take risks and to be true to me! Birmingham City University supported me to attend international conferences where I gained exposure to autoethnography which supported me in accepting that ‘my way’ was very much a ‘legitimate way’ of doing qualitative research. I also wish to thank J. Pollitt, my deputy director for coming on board with the vision at the closing stage of this project. To the ten stalwart Black women who made this study possible…I salute you! I am indebted to you for your willingness to share and bare so much of your experiences which had never been told. YOU made this project possible. My hope is that your experiences of pain, disappointment and injustices as well as your accounts of overcoming, pride and resilience will contribute to more positive educational experiences for the future generations of Black people working in a National Health Service (NHS) context. Finally, to Sister White, Sister Richards and Sister Rose, my octogenarian anchors. I am so very blest by your continued love and care, you are undoubtedly the wind beneath my wings.
15 February 2018Completed
Uncontrolled Keywords: Black British and Black Caribbean Women, National Health Service (NHS), Higher Education (HE), Black Feminism, Autoethnography
Subjects: CAH01 - medicine and dentistry > CAH01-01 - medicine and dentistry > CAH01-01-01 - medical sciences (non-specific)
CAH15 - social sciences > CAH15-01 - sociology, social policy and anthropology > CAH15-01-02 - sociology
CAH22 - education and teaching > CAH22-01 - education and teaching > CAH22-01-01 - education
Divisions: Doctoral Research College > Doctoral Theses Collection
Depositing User: Kip Darling
Date Deposited: 13 Mar 2019 16:52
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2022 17:23

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