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Protected characteristics: an overview

Ian Peate - Professor of Nursing and Editor in Chief of British Journal of Nursing (BJN) First published: Last updated:


All nurses have a responsibility to proactively create a culture of inclusivity and speak out on behalf of those who are being marginalised. The Nursing and Midwifery Council Code (2018) states that nurses must create an environment where people are treated as individuals with dignity and respect, their rights must be upheld and any discriminatory attitudes and behaviours towards those receiving care must be challenged. Unfortunately, discriminatory behaviour continues to be present in healthcare settings.

The Equality Act 2010 offers legal protection from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society. Discrimination is defined as being treated less favourably than someone else (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, 2023).

Discrimination in nursing, as in any profession, is unacceptable and goes against the principles of fairness, equality and ethical conduct (Nursing and Midwifery Council, 2018). Acts of discrimination can be subtle or overt and they can occur in various forms. The

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Ian Peate

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