Racism in Nursing

  1. Does anyone feel like they are discriminated against because of their race? I feel like that most days at work. Favoritism given to nurses of a certain race. It is a big problem in nursing and one that nurses need to talk about. When nursing leadership discriminates based on your race, what can nurses do about it? We know it happens and we know it's against the law but why do so many still get away with it?
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  2. Visit eastcoastrn586 profile page

    About eastcoastrn586

    Joined: Jan '18; Posts: 18; Likes: 19

    36 Comments

  3. by   brownbook
    I think we'd need a specific incident to make a judgement. I know there is racism in society, but I've never seen it in nursing. Doesn't mean it isn't there.
  4. by   eastcoastrn586
    You've never seen it in nursing? Well, aren't you lucky. Say for example, your manager and most of the nurses on your unit are of a particular race. You, however, are not. You notice the only nurses to ever get written up are not the majority. The majority get the shifts they want, the assignments they want, the help they need, and support from the rest of the majority. You and the rest of the minority can see the difference but what are your options? If you complain you get retaliated against and targeted. It's a real issue and it is ruining the profession for some. I don't think the answer is to find another job.
  5. by   brownbook
    I appreciate your passion. You have a difficult job ahead of you to make changes. Meet with the minority nurses after work, off campus, and take action. Everyone needs to document every incident: when a majority made an error that was not written up, when a majority was given extra help, when a majority was given a better shift or assignment. Document when the opposite happened to the minority.

    After a few weeks or months of a paper trail, in a calm non threatening manner, meet with the charge nurse and Human Resources. Bring your documentation. If they don't believe there is a problem go to their bosses, or even talk to a lawyer who specializes in fair labor laws.
  6. by   TNT_RN09
    Yes! I deal with it pretty regularly especially living in the south. Racism and sexism.
  7. by   bsyrn
    No, and I have not seen it truly in any of my workplaces.
  8. by   RRRNNN
    Honestly, nursing is extremely hard work. Unless a unit is over-staffed (and when does that happen?) I can not imagine that anybody working hard and willing to help out their coworkers would not get all the help they need and be extremely appreciated every single day at work. Nurses do not have the time to discriminate if they're working on a busy unit.

    Now - I HAVE seen a very small sample of minorities accuse the majority of racism, when the majority (as well as the rest of the minorities) were doing all of the work. All the other nurses and aides wanted was for all of the members of the team to share in the work but these particular minorities accused the majorities of racism when they were asked to do their share.

    At the place where I work, we had one aide with long talons for fingernails, hair extensions past her butt, etc. who would never consider lowering herself to provide pericare or a shower. She wouldn't want to break a nail! She spent her day passing her meds as slowly as possible and then hiding out to avoid work. She actually fell asleep while feeding residents in the assisted dining room. I received many complaints about her and when I was finally promoted to DON I looked into things and watched her. She was bullying her charge nurses. They were afraid to assign showers to her and let her get away with not doing anything. Her coworkers went home in tears many days because when she was working they never got their lunch breaks and their feet were killing them.

    She's accused us of racism for firing her. Good luck with that.
  9. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from eastcoastrn586
    You've never seen it in nursing? Well, aren't you lucky. Say for example, your manager and most of the nurses on your unit are of a particular race. You, however, are not. You notice the only nurses to ever get written up are not the majority. The majority get the shifts they want, the assignments they want, the help they need, and support from the rest of the majority. You and the rest of the minority can see the difference but what are your options? If you complain you get retaliated against and targeted. It's a real issue and it is ruining the profession for some. I don't think the answer is to find another job.
    Whoa! Hostile much?

    Racism (and sexism) exist in our society, and I'm sure that they exist in nursing, also. But (strangely like bullying) they don't exist to the extent that many claim they do. In fact, the complaints of racism I've seen are almost exclusively from folks who are trying to get special priveleges that NO ONE else gets. ("They told me I couldn't take an hour for lunch right at noon; they're being racist." "They wouldn't let me take every Sunday off; they're being racist.") Or from folks trying to get out of work.

    I've seen blatant racism from PATIENTS -- but not from my colleagues. North, south, east or west, I've never seen it. And here's a thing -- those folks who are complaining about racism in assignments, breaks, schedules, etc.? Their colleagues of the same race will say that they're "just playing the race card when there's nothing racist about it." It could very well be that there have been a few incidents of racism and I've been totally oblivious.
  10. by   psu_213
    There is racism in society, and it, unfortunately, seeps down to all levels--the work place included. However, I feel it's a bit unfair to make the blanket statement it is a "big problem in nursing." True, where it is occurring, it's a huge problem, but there are lots of places it is not occurring. I have never witnessed racism in the places I have worked as a nurse, but I do realize that I am looking at it through the lens of the caucasian majority.

    I must that judging racism based on whom gets written up is a pretty inaccurate sample of things. Everywhere I have worked, disciplinary actions, write ups, etc., are between the employee and the management. It was in no way published, and there is no way to accurately correlate write ups to race, gender, age, etc. Some people broadcast their write ups....others do not say anything to other employees. As I said, I'm sure there are nursing workplaces where racism exists. Write ups is not the way to "prove" that it happens.
  11. by   fibroblast
    Quote from TNT_RN09
    Yes! I deal with it pretty regularly especially living in the south. Racism and sexism.
    If the south is generalized then EVERYONE is racist, not just a few.
  12. by   brownbook
    I really had to put on my " what would Miss Manners do" hat when I replied....I loved her snarky, "Aren't you lucky" response.

    The only racism I have seen in nursing was a black co-worker who got away with pretty blatant "issues" for several years before she was finally let go. I honestly think management, co-workers, etc., bent over backwards to prove they weren't racist
  13. by   fibroblast
    k
    Quote from eastcoastrn586
    You've never seen it in nursing? Well, aren't you lucky. Say for example, your manager and most of the nurses on your unit are of a particular race. You, however, are not. You notice the only nurses to ever get written up are not the majority. The majority get the shifts they want, the assignments they want, the help they need, and support from the rest of the majority. You and the rest of the minority can see the difference but what are your options? If you complain you get retaliated against and targeted. It's a real issue and it is ruining the profession for some. I don't think the answer is to find another job.
    If you are not abiding by the Nurse Practice Act and professionalism, you DESERVE to get written up. no sugar coating, no special treatment. There is no 'race' about it. Everyone deserves a fair and unbiased shot at promotions.
  14. by   ThePrincessBride
    It is funny how some of the most vocal people on race are some of the most privileged and unaffected as well.

    There is definitely racism in nursing. Just because one doesn't see it, it doesn't mean it isn't there. I see it quite frequently when it comes to promotions, job selections and teamwork. The least qualified white candidates getting their dream jobs right out of school while nurses of color are turned away and told they need years of experience to work in a particular specialty.

    I have dealt with it personally. Fortunately, I have found a job where everyone is treated fairly, but at my other job, it is fairly obvious with the lack of diversity and clique-like exclusive behavior that race and even gender play a bigger factor in job promotions, etc than merit.

    I imagine in red, less progressive areas of the country it is worse.

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