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Black Women’s Narratives of NHS Work-Based Learning: An Ethnodrama

The Difference between Rhetoric and Lived Experience

Peggy Warren

This is an eight-scene drama portraying black women reliving their journey through higher education and work-based learning. Black women’s voices are the focus, reflecting on the complexities and dynamics of institutional power, professional exploitation, silencing, subordination and non-transformative education. A black feminist standpoint theoretical approach with an autoethnographic presentation invites the reader into the camaraderie, emotions, tears and laughter of a cohort of mature black healthcare workers engaging in a foundation degree with a promise of promotion. The author captures the voices of the women, weaves in her own account and sets the stories in fictional locations. Using cultural sayings, black philosophy and black music in a creative way, this work offers a platform from which to start discussions on black women’s labour in the NHS.

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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.

To the ten amazingly courageous and resilient Black women whose stories made this book possible, I salute you! I am indebted to you for your willingness to share, baring so many of your experiences that had never been told. You made this book possible. My hope is that your experiences of pain, disappointment and injustices, as well as your accounts of overcoming, your pride and your resilience, will contribute to more positive educational experiences for future generations of Black people working in the NHS.

L. A. Lawson, my superbly broadminded sounding block, thank you for the multiple hours you invested in listening, as I tested out my private thoughts before I ‘outed’ them on paper. You are a dependable friend and I appreciate you.

Dr Eden Charles, thank you for taking time out of your incredibly busy schedule to read this book and write the foreword. From our very first conversation, you told me you believed in me and I’m totally humbled by your support for this book. You are truly inspirational.

Thanks to Professor Alex Kendall and the late Professor Joyce Canaan, who supported and encouraged me to take risks and write in a way that was true to me.


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