Racism in the workplace - page 18

Not to be a downer or anything but I have noticed some harsh things said about patients and sometimes even co workers in my unit when they think no one else can hear them. Has anyone else dealt with... Read More

  1. by   SharonH, RN
    Quote from ZASHAGALKA
    In the late '50s, as a result of Jim Crow, our nation WAS separated by force of law. It took lots of talking, with the force of conviction to back it up, to bring about an official end to Jim Crow and an open acknowledgment that things were not as they should be.




    Well Timothy, it took a lot more than talking didn't it? And it wasn't only force of law that kept this nation separated, just like there's no law keeping us separated today. One of the problems with these threads is that people are rarely able to speak truth without accusations from all sides, "whitewashing"(*cough*) historical or current events or warm and fuzzy statements about how we're all humans inside. True, but that is hardly helpful isn't it?

    I hate to be a downer but I have to be honest. Without the specter of race, we WILL find another reason to segregate ourselves be it religion, culture, geography, weight differences, favorite HS football team, blondes vs. brunettes, and so on and on. It's the nature of man. NO we can't all get along. So while talking about the dream of integration might be the nice thing to say, it isn't feasible. You have a problem with the word tolerance; what about mutual respect if not admiration?
  2. by   Antikigirl
    A quote from my earlier post..the last paragraph even.

    "Another time, an elderly resident of mine grabbed my arm so tight as I was passing her in the hallway after a caregiver who happened to be black passed her. She said to me "Is that a N---- (horrid word!!!!)!!!!". I looked her straight in the eye and simply said 'YES'. and pulled her hand off me and walked away! I think that simple phrase showed two things...one, I wasn't going there!!! And two...to get over herself! It worked...I never had another probelm with residents ever again about different races at work (word must have gotten out not to go there!)"

    WOW...took me a while to realize this post got people upset!:uhoh21: What I didn't tell you was the rest of the story so I didn't make a full novel about this last one! Thankfully a nice nurse messaged me and let me know of the probelm...and I thank her for that...let me clarify! It still upsets me, so I didn't get the message across like I wanted to..and this was over 4 years ago!!!

    When I heard the word itself, I think I went into instant anger like most! I really hadn't ever heard this word spoken with such frankness before, and it isn't a word that is used in my famiy (never has been!) or my friends! It was one word that instantly sent shock waves through me...and that slowed my typically quick resonses. As I told the message sender...I think if I hadn't been so shocked and ticked...I would have called her a caregiver and a darned good one instead of just the yes and getting out of there before I got in trouble for saying my mind to this lady...which would have done nothing but get me into serious trouble!

    I talked to the caregiver who did ask me not to do anything about it, and that she was fine and not angry. However, I had already filled out an incident report because I was charge and had to.

    And what did my wonderful (grrrrrrrr) administration do? Told me not to pursue anything or ever bring it up again because this was a term that this resident knows to represent black americans, and it is a word used by her generation (she was 90). That is more than likely wasn't meant as offensive. My response? "Well my generation has a few choice words we use for certain situations...and I don't use them in public or work...should I start saying them and blaming it on my age/generation????".

    What wound up happening is that since I kinda had a tizzy because this was not only happening to her, but to Males, Hispanics, and Asian CNA/Nurses and other staff (as well as a heavy dose of agism towards staff! I got a huge dose of that...so much certain residents wouldn't let me be their nurse...I wasn't "matronly" looking enough for them!)...is the Caregiving staff and the Nursing staff got together and arranged/planned a meeting about respect for the residents to attend. That really helped (suprised admin let me, but they knew I was going to do it and bug them till it was done!). A healthy dose of respect after that meeting lasted between residents and staff for quite some time.

    So now you know the rest of the story... I will admit I a certanly NOT a racist in any way, but I will say I can be niave about it at certain times since thankfully it is not a common event in my life! I hope that continues to be a trend everywhere...be nice not to have to hear, see or deal with stupidity against race/sex/creed anymore!

    Again my appologies if I offended...certainly big time not my intent! I should have made that into another post so I could tell the things the staff and I did afterwards to help, and more attention could have been given to the other paragraphs I had on that post that were positive and proactive (that didn't seem to get noticed because of ending on the negative note).
  3. by   pickledpepperRN
    Quote from ZASHAGALKA
    In the 30 plus minutes since my last post, 179 new readers have read what we all have to say in this thread.

    If only some of them actually listen and understand, that alone makes it worth the effort to talk about it.

    To each of those new readers - and the older readers: how are YOU convicted to be the one person that challenges all previous assumptions within your environment?

    Where is the spirit of Rosa Parks within you?

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
    Here is what one nurse is doing:
    http://www.calnurses.org/publication...ec05_torch.pdf

    TriageRN_34:
    I understand how the rush of emotion can get to you. I once loudly yelled at a confused patient who started to bite a nurse changing a jugular dressing, "Don't hurt people!"
    Some of my colleagues still think it was over reacting because it was a nice older person, but the nurse wasn't bitten.

    Timothy: I agree with you. I'm fortunate to live in a very diverse neighborhood. The problems are quite mild and just typical disagreements not based on race or ethnicity.

    If Georgia hasn't changed since I was there for NTI even some nurses have a superior attitude toward others. Two white nurses from what they called "the real Georgia, not Atlanta" did call me a yankee. Well I wasn't born when Atlanta burned and my American ancestors were cotten picking slaves, not soldiers.

    SO I partly understand why people need to or choose to live in their own part of town.

    I was a civil rights worker, follower not leader. Now a universal high standard of patient care with safe staffing ratios and reform led by nurses is my passion. Read the link. Martese Chism is a role model for many of us.

    PS: The KKK was and is a terrorist group.
    Last edit by pickledpepperRN on Sep 8, '06
  4. by   sayitgirl

    Nursing is a second career for me, this will be my thirteen year, third as an RN. And I must say that I have seen many road blocks; obstacles presented simply because I am an African American. It has nothing to do with my personality, clinical skills...etc... I went down south to visit relatives;Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia, and quite frankly I felt more comfortable down there, then up north where I live. The thing that we both agreed on, is that racisim is as American as apple pie. The only differnce is the way that it is presented by the individual, in the south they are open about it, while in the north it is covert.
    Each person is entitled to their own belief system but when it affects the quality of life for an individual, I have a problem with it. I went back to school after working as an LPN for ten years because I wanted to expand my education and opportunities. But I found obstacles when I went into the medical hospital, obstacles of racism from my co-workers. As a result I left and went on to another field of nursing. I will never go back to that aspect of nursing because of the way that I was treated. To this day that aspect of nursing in this "magnet" hospital does not have African-American nurses as staff, for the same reason.
    I bring up this example for one reason only, to let one and all know that although we may not be vocal about it racism exists. The next time you go to a hospital notice how many African-American nurses you see. And if the percentage is low, there is a reason for it, and it usually has something to do with the way they are treated. I work in a state psychiatric hospital now, about 25% of the nurses there are African, African -American ,the remaining percentages consists of several other culture groups. The racism is minimal compared to medical hospitals and private institutions, I think that I'll stay there in fact I know that I'll stay there.
  5. by   Nitngale
    It is kinda of funny to read the different views and see how most of them are formed more by what the media tells us is right or wrong. I was raised to respect all people. My Mother would never have let us say or refer to anyone in a derogatory manner. I'm not a nurse yet, but I volunteer in a hospital that is staffed by a large Asian population and most of the doctors are Asian or Indian with some Middle Eastern. Someone from each of those groups have said derogatory things based on a patient or co workers race. They tend to ignore me I think because I am a volunteer. In one case the nurse was speaking in her native language (which is why I'm against that)and said something about a Black co worker. I have many friends that spoke her language and I understand some of what she said. I confronted her and she was more shocked at me knowing then by what she said. I've found Asians to be very judgemental. As for the elderly lady, we still have the 1st amendment. The same amendment that allows hip hop artists to say '*****' and White boy and the production of pronography also allow this woman to say what she wants. My experience has been if the person offended comes up to the older patient and explains that it bothers them the older person is surprised but does not repeat it. People always assume the offender is White. My experience is that most White people are afraid to say anything . The biggest offenders seem to be those who have recently arrived in this country. In their country they don't address the issue of other cultures or races or they come from the dominant race in their countries.
  6. by   hdorsey
    I have dealt with it during a clinical rotation. The instructor would make inappropriate comments about various ethnic groups although they were ailing patients.





  7. by   Nitngale
    :wink2:
    Quote from sayitgirl

    Nursing is a second career for me, this will be my thirteen year, third as an RN. And I must say that I have seen many road blocks; obstacles presented simply because I am an African American. It has nothing to do with my personality, clinical skills...etc... I went down south to visit relatives;Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia, and quite frankly I felt more comfortable down there, then up north where I live. The thing that we both agreed on, is that racisim is as American as apple pie. The only differnce is the way that it is presented by the individual, in the south they are open about it, while in the north it is covert.
    Each person is entitled to their own belief system but when it affects the quality of life for an individual, I have a problem with it. I went back to school after working as an LPN for ten years because I wanted to expand my education and opportunities. But I found obstacles when I went into the medical hospital, obstacles of racism from my co-workers. As a result I left and went on to another field of nursing. I will never go back to that aspect of nursing because of the way that I was treated. To this day that aspect of nursing in this "magnet" hospital does not have African-American nurses as staff, for the same reason.
    I bring up this example for one reason only, to let one and all know that although we may not be vocal about it racism exists. The next time you go to a hospital notice how many African-American nurses you see. And if the percentage is low, there is a reason for it, and it usually has something to do with the way they are treated. I work in a state psychiatric hospital now, about 25% of the nurses there are African, African -American ,the remaining percentages consists of several other culture groups. The racism is minimal compared to medical hospitals and private institutions, I think that I'll stay there in fact I know that I'll stay there.
    There is another reason though. I have a cousin in South Dakota whom works in a hospital there (RT). There are no Black nurses, but then the Black population there is 0, and probably less than 1%in the whole state. There should be some more Native American nurses. You can't just take a group and magically insert them into a group. If California was to go by demographics the medical population should be mostly Hispanic. Then you get other occupations where a certain race is over-represented like basketball. We had a funny incident lately, my neighbor had an exchange student from Bhutan (I think it is a small country in the Himalayas). They recently got satellite television in their community so the kids there get MTV et al. When they picked him up at the airport and took him home, he was surprised to see so many White people in 'America' :wink2:
  8. by   bcskittlez
    Quote from sayitgirl

    nursing is a second career for me, this will be my thirteen year, third as an rn. and i must say that i have seen many road blocks; obstacles presented simply because i am an african american. it has nothing to do with my personality, clinical skills...etc... i went down south to visit relatives;mississippi, alabama and georgia, and quite frankly i felt more comfortable down there, then up north where i live. the thing that we both agreed on, is that racisim is as american as apple pie. the only differnce is the way that it is presented by the individual, in the south they are open about it, while in the north it is covert.
    each person is entitled to their own belief system but when it affects the quality of life for an individual, i have a problem with it. i went back to school after working as an lpn for ten years because i wanted to expand my education and opportunities. but i found obstacles when i went into the medical hospital, obstacles of racism from my co-workers. as a result i left and went on to another field of nursing. i will never go back to that aspect of nursing because of the way that i was treated. to this day that aspect of nursing in this "magnet" hospital does not have african-american nurses as staff, for the same reason.
    i bring up this example for one reason only, to let one and all know that although we may not be vocal about it racism exists. the next time you go to a hospital notice how many african-american nurses you see. and if the percentage is low, there is a reason for it, and it usually has something to do with the way they are treated. i work in a state psychiatric hospital now, about 25% of the nurses there are african, african -american ,the remaining percentages consists of several other culture groups. the racism is minimal compared to medical hospitals and private institutions, i think that i'll stay there in fact i know that i'll stay there.
    this is so very discouraging.. this is the reason why i have contemplated over and over again whether i really want to do this even though i have wanted to do this since i was 6 years old. this will also be my 2nd career, i am a business systems analyst right now. the person who taught me all i know was an open racist. she stated to management that it is her choice to not like black people as long as she treats them with respect on the job. she did just that, and i treated her with respect. i became her boss in under 6 months. but thats beside the point. the real point is, i always gave 300%! im so very tired of that! as soon as "some" look at my brown skin (even though my great-grandfather is completely white), i'm marked... and watched... i already deal with that in the field i'm in.. doesn't matter that my father is a certified genius through mensa.. doesn't matter that i was already on the twelve grade level in the 3rd grade, just matters that my skin is brown and you need to watch her. you mean to tell me i will be going through that all over again?!
  9. by   sirI
    Racism is NOT exclusive to Nursing.

    Racism is alive and well in every single career choice known to mankind.

    Please, do not take comments on the world wide web site and try to make them fit into a neat little box and call it, "Racism is Exclusive to Nursing and it is Unique".

    And, yes, I've suffered at the hands of racists all.....my......life.
  10. by   Nitngale
    Quote from SharonH, RN
    I've never been to Mississippi but having spent my entire life in Georgia, I've never heard a Northerner (seriously) referred to as a Yankee.
    I was stationed in Augusta, GA and not only did they refer to me as a Yankee (I'm from CA) but they knew I was from CA. I was surprised 'cuz I never think of Californians as having an accent. Maybe it was the way I dressed(I live in sweatshirts). In the little mall (1980's) there on Sundays, the men were all in suits and the ladies were all in dresses and hats. It looked like a scene from "Steppford Wives". I loved it 'cuz I felt like I was in a different place (though you could never get me to dress like that) Nowadays, no matter where you go everyone looks the same. You go to Japan and the kids have baggy pants, backward hats and on skateboards. I could stay in the US and see that
  11. by   Nitngale
    Quote from hdorsey
    I have dealt with it during a clinical rotation. The instructor would make inappropriate comments about various ethnic groups although they were ailing patients.




    That is incredible. To say something about a co worker is unethical, but to say anything derrogatory about a patient is immoral. I've seen staff talk about a dying patient dying, especially if they're unconscious, right by their bedside.
  12. by   LADYFLOWER
    Quote from mssfelder
    PS. Ever wonder why their is no black, asian, indian, or hispanic nurse icon to post in threads? Hmm...
    Ya know, I have never really thought about it. But it seems that most message boards use the same smilies, icons ect...
    I might do a search to see if I can find something for my avatar.
  13. by   Nitngale
    Quote from LADYFLOWER
    Ya know, I have never really thought about it. But it seems that most message boards use the same smilies, icons ect...
    I might do a search to see if I can find something for my avatar.
    There are no male ones either! Nor are there older icons! I'm seeing a pattern here. If you went by the icons---most of us are yellow with a smiling face :wink2:

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