Wednesday, November 16, 2005
RN = REVOLUTIONARY NURSE
The Legacy of Milton Hanson RN
By David Neita
Taken from NHS Exposed
Milton Hanson, Registered Nurse and Community Leader & Activist, is deceased. His spirit lives on though, because he was exceptional and inspirational in carrying out his duty of standing up for his community when it mattered most. When others turned their backs on the racism within the National Health Service (NHS) and specifically within his place of work, he courageously confronted this system of discrimination.
He witnessed the dehumanisation of Black people at his workplace but his strong sense of social justice would not allow him to ignore the plight of the abused. He challenged his employers on the record of racism he experienced within the clinic, where he worked, and in an unfair twist he was dismissed. His job and his livelihood were taken away but he never allowed his dignity and integrity to be wrested from him.
When it seemed that things could get no worse he was charged by his professional body, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). He must have felt like Job in the land of Uz. He was charged, in effect, for speaking out against racism, incompetence, and un-professionalism. They had the power to strike him off the Register of Nurses and indicated that they reserved the right to do so if they found against him. It is a perverse mockery that the NMC charged Milton for a deed that amounted to the protection of the public; yet the NMC projects itself as ‘protecting the public through professional standards. Milton’s advocacy in this matter was on behalf of the patients the clinic where he worked. They were predominately Black because of the postcode of the clinic; the location is in a ‘Black area’. The question the NMC needs to resolve is: are Black people not members of the public? Sojourner Truth asked a similar question in relation to women over 100 years ago: ‘…ain’t I a woman?’ This same quest for the recognition of Black people as human beings worthy of dignity continues from the last millennia into this millennia. This pursuit that will never cease from spiritual struggle till Heaven’s system of moral justice is established here on Earth.
In all of this Milton maintained his commitment to humanity and although he was charged by his professional body, the NMC, he continued his activism in his community. As a specialist in Sexual Health he regularly spoke on the community circuit, raising awareness around sexual health. He also supported positive initiatives around education and empowerment, amongst other issues, in his community.
Till the very end Milton maintained his innocence in relation to the charges laid against him. He was guided by a sense of justice and conviction. He has found peace and neither his former employers nor the NMC can touch him now; he is no longer within their jurisdiction! He remained a Nurse until the end of his days and can never be struck off.
For those of us who knew Milton, this Jamaican Nurse in Britain, he will always be our RN, our Revolutionary Nurse. For those of us who did not have the opportunity to meet him I can tell you that Milton was lauded by the many people he cared for, advocated for and served in his community. He was a nurse of the calibre of Mary Seacole, in character and courage; and like her, A Hero!