Student nurse perceptions of Gypsy Roma Travellers; A European qualitative study

Heaslip V., Vanceulebroeck V., KALKAN I., Kömürcü N., Solanas I. A.

Nurse Education Today, vol.82, pp.1-7, 2019 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 82
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.nedt.2019.07.011
  • Journal Name: Nurse Education Today
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.1-7
  • Keywords: Healthcare disparities, Roma, Gypsy, Nurses, Student nurses, Perceptions, Attitudes, Education
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: Yes


Background: Gypsy Roma Travellers are Europe's largest ethnic minority group. Yet they remain one of the most stigmatised communities who have significant health inequalities. Whilst nurses have a role in promoting health access, there have been minimal studies exploring health care professionals' attitudes towards these communities and no studies exploring nursing students' perceptions. Objectives: To explore nursing students understanding, knowledge and perceptions of working with Gypsy Roma Travellers. Participants: 23 nursing students from across four European countries (UK, Spain, Belgium, Turkey) participated in the study. The students ages ranged between 19 and 32 year old, there was a mix of students between year one to year three of their programme and both male (n = 3) and female students (n = 19). Methods: This qualitative research utilised focus groups and one to one interviews based at the four different universities, all following a pre-agreed interview schedule. Focus groups and interviews were conducted by the research team in the students' first language and later translated into English for analysis using thematic analysis. The COREQ criteria were used in the reporting of the study. Results: Four themes were identified which included: Exposure to Gypsy Roma Traveller Communities, Perceptions of Gypsy Roma Traveller cultures, Unhealthy lifestyles and culture and Nursing Gypsy Roma Travellers. Conclusions: Although personal and professional contact with Gypsy Roma Travellers was limited, most of the students' perceptions of these communities were negative. Nurse educational programmes need to embed transformational learning opportunities enabling student nurses to critically reflect upon values and beliefs of Gypsy Roma Travellers developed both before and during their nursing preparatory programme if they are to work effectively in a respectful, culturally sensitive way. There is also generally, a lack of research focussing upon healthcare professionals' attitudes towards these communities that needs to be explored through further research.