The Role of Professional Status in Mediating the Gendered and Racialised Experiences of Nigerian Women Working in the NHS
: An Interdisciplinary Approach

  • Nkechinyelu Edeh

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The ‘feminisation’ of international migration, reflects an increase in the health sector migration from African countries to the UK, particularly from countries with previous colonial relationships to the UK, such as Nigeria. However, the impact that the intersections of racialised, gendered and immigrant identity status have on identity and occupational opportunities for Nigerian women who migrate to the UK is under researched. Addressing this gap, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was performed on interviews with twenty-four Nigerian women, twelve doctors and twelve nurses working in the NHS. All participants were interviewed using unstructured interview, eight of whom were interviewed a second time using semi-structured interviews to further develop analysis. IPA proved a fruitful method for in-depth analysis of the participants’ experiences, and the findings captured three superordinate themes: 1) The process of becoming; 2) Inequalities at work; and 3) Coping with threatened identities. Four conceptual frameworks were applied in interconnected ways to further interpret the findings. These were: Acker’s inequality regimes from organisational studies, Hall’s conceptualisation of identity from cultural studies, an intersectionality lens from Black feminist scholarship, and Lazarus and Folkman’s coping strategies for stress, from Psychology. Overall, this study highlighted how those seeking higher status professions may experience greater stressors, due to intersections of racialised and gendered positionality. The thesis also showed the value of an interdisciplinary and intersectional approach; and contributed to developing knowledge of inequality regimes in the NHS; and increased analysis of Black migrant women’s experiences in a context where their voices are often absent
Date of Award2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aberystwyth University
SupervisorSarah Riley (Supervisor)


  • professional status
  • intersectionality
  • inequalities
  • immigrant
  • identity
  • race
  • gender

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