Since when is there segregation in nursing?

  1. Im a new nurse and just started working for a pediatric home health agency. It didnt take long for me to discover something sickening to me. It is completely obvious that for the most part they place white nurses in white patients homes and black nurses in black patients homes. Im not sure why they do this other than maybe they have had problems in the past with families asking not to have a nurse of another race come to their house, so maybe that is their way of preventing problems before they happen.

    Ok, I understand that it is the family's choice whether they want a nurse to come back regardless if they are black, red, or green....but it really bothers me that this is going on. I also understand that maybe some people feel more comfortable with their own culture in their homes. I blame the agency most bc I feel that this practice is condoning stereotypes since in some cases I feel clients families may believe that a black nurse is going to have an attitude problem or might steal from them, etc. Any nurse could have undesirable traits without race being a factor.

    How do you feel about this? My boyfriend doesnt see the big deal, and that only further infuriates me! This just shows the underlying beliefs that some people have and I cant express how wrong I think that is! In 2005 is it still believed that people should "stick to their own kind"? They say they place you according to your abilities and your patients required skill level and the area you live. That is a bunch of crap bc apparantly they place you according to what color you are. Apparantly, crossing racial lines isnt a good match for the nurse and the client.

    In my opinion, I agree with honoring that if its a request bc I personally wouldnt want to take care of someone who didnt want me to be there. But I dont agree with this as a general practice.

    Thanks for listening, Im not trying to start a debate here, I just really wanted to get that off my chest bc its really been bothering me and nobody really seems to understand why.
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  2. 16 Comments

  3. by   Tweety
    That does seem very wrong and I understand your concerns.

    Maybe assignments are made on proximity? A lot of neighborhoods in this day and age are segretated, mostly by choice, so maybe the black nurses live close the black patients?
  4. by   llg
    I certainly understand your raising the question ... but it sounds to me as if you are lacking a lot of key information. Before making a judgment, I would want to find out why the agency makes its assignments the way that it does before I jumped to the wrong conclusions. Perhaps you should sit down with your supervisor and politely ask for the rationale so that you can understand the situation better.

    If, after listening to them with an open mind, you decide that they are evil racists, then you can decide what you want to do about that. However, you might find out that there are some good reasons behind their decisions -- and you won't know that until you listen to what they have to say.

    llg
  5. by   RN@34
    Well said llg!
  6. by   luv4nursing
    Hello again. For one thing they wont admit that is what they do, to them its a matter of coincedence. Plus I dont want to get on their bad side and not get assignments or get crappy ones, so thats why I dont want to say anything. But with my availability (nights/weekends) they should be ringing my phone off the hook and Im still trying to pick up hours. They said they have an abundance of these shifts. But my feeling is that I was hired and the information was passed along from HR to staffing the patients that would be "appropriate" for me....lol.

    Also, the area that I live in is pretty diverse and isnt predominately white or black and basically straight down the middle. It cant be a coincedence that every patient Ive been sent to so far has been African American. I hope this doesnt sound like I dont want to take care of my own race...:chuckle Its just the principle that I cant see any logical reason for this to take place. If in the hospital, they dont make assignments based on the race of the patients and nurses...so why is this acceptable in home health?

    Also I never said anything about evil racists...that would be a little extreme. Racism is a form of hate and I just consider this a form of plain ignorance.

    I hope I dont sound angry...I think Im a little delirious bc Ive been awake for 2 days straight and worked two 12s and an 8 in that time....lol. I mainly just wanted to get this off my chest!
  7. by   psalm
    ...I hope you will keep us updated, if there is any change in your assignments. When I lived in Hawaii and did private duty as an aide, I was sent to all different homes, and I am white. One family was Chinese and I felt really self-conscious b/c they would talk Chinese and I was paranoid that they were talking about me and the way I did things. Also got sent to some military families.
  8. by   Town & Country
    There's nothing new here.
    Everywhere I have ever worked there has been patients who only wanted to be taken care of by their own race.....it's not my concern or my business to try to change anyone to my way of thinking.
    I just honor their requests.
  9. by   nurse4theplanet
    I think you have a valid concern that must be looked into for your own peace of mind...

    I would start with my co-worker's first, white and black, and any other ethnic background that may be present. Find out what the majority of their pt's races are in comparison to their own race. Find out if anyone feels the way you do.

    But be cautious...you don't want to be accused of 'throwing the race card' or anything stupid like that if you voice a complaint and then it turns out to be invalid. This will just damage your credibility in other's eyes (sadly) and may bring on a world of trouble for you that you don't even want to deal with.

    Stay open minded.
    This is home health. When I did a home health rotation in my area the nurse talked extensively to me about the 'typical' pt. In general, it was an elderly pt, with chronic disease, crappy insurance (Medicare), and a low socio-economic status. Well, I live in the south so let's think about this one realistically. How many 80 yr old black men/women that were raised in the south were afforded the opportunity to get a college education and make a proper life for themselves, and have a retirement plan/benefits. Not many. So the majority of all the client's we saw were black. If you were to work for this facility, then it would be unreasonable to make such a claim.

    But don't be a pushover.
    Racism is certainly not a thing of the past by far. I see it all the time coming from every race in the spectrum towards every race in the spectrum. If you do some investigating and find your concerns to be true, fight it with all you've got!

    Just my two cents!!! Nursing has no color.
  10. by   ZASHAGALKA
    Quote from luv4nursing
    Hello again. For one thing they wont admit that is what they do, to them its a matter of coincedence. Plus I dont want to get on their bad side and not get assignments or get crappy ones, so thats why I dont want to say anything. But with my availability (nights/weekends) they should be ringing my phone off the hook and Im still trying to pick up hours. They said they have an abundance of these shifts. But my feeling is that I was hired and the information was passed along from HR to staffing the patients that would be "appropriate" for me....lol.

    Also, the area that I live in is pretty diverse and isnt predominately white or black and basically straight down the middle. It cant be a coincedence that every patient Ive been sent to so far has been African American. I hope this doesnt sound like I dont want to take care of my own race...:chuckle Its just the principle that I cant see any logical reason for this to take place. If in the hospital, they dont make assignments based on the race of the patients and nurses...so why is this acceptable in home health?

    Also I never said anything about evil racists...that would be a little extreme. Racism is a form of hate and I just consider this a form of plain ignorance.

    I hope I dont sound angry...I think Im a little delirious bc Ive been awake for 2 days straight and worked two 12s and an 8 in that time....lol. I mainly just wanted to get this off my chest!
    I agree w/ llg that there might be something you don't see. Also, there is the possibility that the company has determined by practice that this is what most pts want. And I see no particular problem in providing people w/ the service they want. Even if you disagree w/ it on principle.

    OR let me put it this way - It has been my experience that many black pts are very interested in how many black nurses are on staff - as a sign of the facility not being racist. It has also been my experience that those same pts are much more comfortable if they have a black nurse care for them from time to time. If I adopted this same practice as an agency head, the result would be that most of my black nurses would probably be assigned to black pts, and it would look like I was being racist. Now I don't think it's necessarily racist to provide my customers with care that makes them more comfortable. From a business model, that is how you get repeat business and therefore, stay in business.

    But here's the thing - if you disagree with it on principle, and yet you don't want to rock the boat - how strong a principle can it be? I don't mean this as a critique - but if you really think this is wrong, and it is a value that really means something to you, then I'm just suggesting that you re-evaluate how to handle it. I could never work for a company that I truly thought was racist in its policies.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
    Last edit by ZASHAGALKA on Nov 19, '05
  11. by   luv4nursing
    Quote from ZASHAGALKA
    I agree w/ llg that there might be something you don't see. Also, there is the possibility that the company has determined by practice that this is what most pts want. And I see no particular problem in providing people w/ the service they want. Even if you disagree w/ it on principle.

    OR let me put it this way - It has been my experience that many black pts are very interested in how many black nurses are on staff - as a sign of the facility not being racist. It has also been my experience that those same pts are much more comfortable if they have a black nurse care for them from time to time. If I adopted this same practice as an agency head, the result would be that most of my black nurses would probably be assigned to black pts, and it would look like I was being racist. Now I don't think it's necessarily racist to provide my customers with care that makes them more comfortable. From a business model, that is how you get repeat business and therefore, stay in business.

    But here's the thing - if you disagree with it on principle, and yet you don't want to rock the boat - how strong a principle can it be? I don't mean this as a critique - but if you really think this is wrong, and it is a value that really means something to you, then I'm just suggesting that you re-evaluate how to handle it. I could never work for a company that I truly thought was racist in its policies.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.

    Timothy,
    As u would see if u read both my posts on the subject, I can agree that some patients feel more comfortable with their own race and it doesnt necessarily mean they are racist. Secondly, I already said I dont think the company itself is racist. As far as principle goes, I dont agree with this practice unless a client specifically requests it.

    I really dont need you to tell me I dont have strong principles/beliefs if I dont act on them. As I said Im a new nurse and Im going to take the time to evaluate the situation before I address it. You must realize that as a minority Ive spent the majority of my life having to let things go and let things roll off my back, bc otherwise I would have never been able to hold a job or go to school or even live in the community where I grew up. You grow a thick skin. If I were to confront every person and every organization who I felt had racist tendencies or at least had stereotypical beliefs, then Id better quit my job and dedicate my life to it...lol.

    This is nearly 2006. Racism isnt as blatant as it was back in the days of true segregation, its more quiet and under the surface. It isnt my job to show people the light. Im just trying to live my life like everyone else. Im not a spokesperson for the black race. Maybe you are able to go thru life challenging every wrong doing that have ever been placed upon you since it is probably few and far between, but I dont have that luxury. I do have to eat, so Im not going to let some peoples backwards beliefs keep me from making a paycheck. If I left on that principle Id probably be leaving every job I get bc there is no escaping ignorant people. Now, when someone crosses the line, make no mistake, I will let them know about themselves. Other than that I just have to roll with the punches.
  12. by   nurse4theplanet
    Quote from luv4nursing
    Timothy,
    As u would see if u read both my posts on the subject, I can agree that some patients feel more comfortable with their own race and it doesnt necessarily mean they are racist. Secondly, I already said I dont think the company itself is racist. As far as principle goes, I dont agree with this practice unless a client specifically requests it.

    I really dont need you to tell me I dont have strong principles/beliefs if I dont act on them. As I said Im a new nurse and Im going to take the time to evaluate the situation before I address it. You must realize that as a minority Ive spent the majority of my life having to let things go and let things roll off my back, bc otherwise I would have never been able to hold a job or go to school or even live in the community where I grew up. You grow a thick skin. If I were to confront every person and every organization who I felt had racist tendencies or at least had stereotypical beliefs, then Id better quit my job and dedicate my life to it...lol.

    This is nearly 2006. Racism isnt as blatant as it was back in the days of true segregation, its more quiet and under the surface. It isnt my job to show people the light. Im just trying to live my life like everyone else. Im not a spokesperson for the black race. Maybe you are able to go thru life challenging every wrong doing that have ever been placed upon you since it is probably few and far between, but I dont have that luxury. I do have to eat, so Im not going to let some peoples backwards beliefs keep me from making a paycheck. If I left on that principle Id probably be leaving every job I get bc there is no escaping ignorant people. Now, when someone crosses the line, make no mistake, I will let them know about themselves. Other than that I just have to roll with the punches.


    standing ovation for your post and insight!!!!
  13. by   nicholrwalker
    Walked in your shoes, luv4nursing. Unfortunately those who haven't will not understand.


    Quote from luv4nursing
    Timothy,
    As u would see if u read both my posts on the subject, I can agree that some patients feel more comfortable with their own race and it doesnt necessarily mean they are racist. Secondly, I already said I dont think the company itself is racist. As far as principle goes, I dont agree with this practice unless a client specifically requests it.

    I really dont need you to tell me I dont have strong principles/beliefs if I dont act on them. As I said Im a new nurse and Im going to take the time to evaluate the situation before I address it. You must realize that as a minority Ive spent the majority of my life having to let things go and let things roll off my back, bc otherwise I would have never been able to hold a job or go to school or even live in the community where I grew up. You grow a thick skin. If I were to confront every person and every organization who I felt had racist tendencies or at least had stereotypical beliefs, then Id better quit my job and dedicate my life to it...lol.

    This is nearly 2006. Racism isnt as blatant as it was back in the days of true segregation, its more quiet and under the surface. It isnt my job to show people the light. Im just trying to live my life like everyone else. Im not a spokesperson for the black race. Maybe you are able to go thru life challenging every wrong doing that have ever been placed upon you since it is probably few and far between, but I dont have that luxury. I do have to eat, so Im not going to let some peoples backwards beliefs keep me from making a paycheck. If I left on that principle Id probably be leaving every job I get bc there is no escaping ignorant people. Now, when someone crosses the line, make no mistake, I will let them know about themselves. Other than that I just have to roll with the punches.
  14. by   luv4nursing
    thanks nichol and soldierswife! I appreciate that! I think u understand what Im trying to say and arent twisting my words

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