Are you afraid to approach minority staff members? WHY?

Nurses General Nursing


It's been said that racism and discrimination runs both ways. White nurses complain that minorities gather together and exclude them from conversations. Minorities say that they are passed over for "cream of the crop" jobs that are given to white nurses. Staff members report that minority CNA's and support staff give preferential treatment to their own.


Yep, it is. But I want to hear from everyone out there. What's your beef? What's the problem? How can it be addressed?

Don't be shy. Don't be skerred. Are we not professionals? Isn't this the place to discuss these sensitive issues? If you don't contribute how are we going to learn from each other?

So, come on. Leave your inhibitions at the door. Don your flaming suits, get out the dictionaries and thesaurus' and let's get SOME DISCUSSION GOING ON THIS.

Maybe, just maybe we'll learn some great things through discussion. :)


656 Posts

This is going to sound horrible, but my clinical instructor happens to be of a different race than I. She is the BEST instructor I have had so far!!!

Kudos to all the minorities for going to school and getting into the workforce. I think DIVERSITY is a wonderful thing especially in healthcare since we deal with a diverse population.


3,932 Posts

Specializes in LTC, ER, ICU,.

i am wondering if this is a typical situation or isolated situation, i see more minority on the med/surg floors.


656 Posts

And one other note... the CNA who is the caregiver for the patients I have been assigned to in my first clinical rotation is a wonderful, caring, excellent, HISPANIC woman who treats her mixed population patients with equal care. What an excellent role model!

Kudos for her for not seeing skin color or language as a barrier to providing excellent patient care.

Specializes in ICU, nutrition.

I find that it's regional in my opinion. When I lived in a certain state north of here, I found that there were a lot of problems between black and white staff members. However, where I live now, I find that the black and white staff members seem to get along quite well. Most of the CNAs in the facility I work in are black, and most of the RNs are white. The LPNs and unit secretaries seem to be pretty evenly split. It seems like the patients I care for are also pretty evenly split.

We have one full-time black nurse in the unit I work in and although she can be bristly, I don't have a problem with her. As a matter of fact, I really don't have a problem with ANYONE I work with, as long as they do their job and let me do mine. We have four unit secretaries, two are awesome, one is a little absent-minded and one is just plain lazy. I don't think race has anything to do with the work ethic of the people I work with. I haven't noticed anyone excluding anyone else because of race, sex, or sexual orientation. We have a lot of lesbians working in our unit, but I've never noticed them excluding those of us who are straight. We have a lot of guys who golf though, and they completely exclude us non-golfers! :rolleyes:

I haven't noticed when I've been pulled to the floors that anyone gives preferential treatment to people of a certain race, sex, etc. Seems that the CNAs I've seen in MS just run from one CODE BROWN to another!:uhoh3: At least, that's what I did that summer I was a CNA on SNF.

There is one thing I have noticed though; the generalizations that are made about patients whose families refuse to make their terminally-ill, suffering, vented, brain-dead, ESRD-with-stage-4- decubitus-ulcer-from-thoracic-area-to-sacrum family member a DNR. If I'm giving report and I mention that the patient is a full code, the other nurse will automatically ask if he/she is black. I have noticed that families of black patients (like I described above) will rarely allow their family member to be a DNR. Some people say this is because they are collecting the patient's check (SSDI, SS), and I don't think that's it in most cases. I think it's a cultural difference. Maybe they don't trust doctors as much as we (nurses) do, maybe they have more faith than we (nurses) do, maybe they believe that if it's your time to go, you're going to go whether we code you or not, so we might as well code you.

I have also seen white families who just can't accept the inevitable either. If I was put in the situation where it was MY mom, I don't know what I would do myself. I would hope that I would not allow her to suffer, and I hope that the suffering I've seen will stay in the forefront of my mind when/if that time comes.

I've tried to be honest about what I've seen in my practice. I hope no one takes offense, as none was meant.

Great thread, Vegas!

Vegas, You've got spunk tackling this topic.....

I work in a facility that employ a huge diversity of cultures. During the night shift, I am normally around Asian cultures, specifically Filipino. I have made very good friends with the majority of them, especially in knowing a wee-bit about their culture and lifestyle from good, good friends I have outside of work.

I joke with my colleagues at work - I'll comment "It's a Filipino thing", they comment "It's a black thing" when the theme of our conversation dictates. We both laugh at each other, me probably more so because I'm grateful that we let our "cultural" guards down long enough to joke about an otherwise sensitive "PC" statement (Black thing/Filipino thing)

Well....I got too comfy last week. A co-worker, whom we've joked together and speak frankly to was pressing my button(s) over an assignment. Let's just say, my co-worker is VERY old school when it comes to the LVN/RN thing and patient loads. Its typical for this RN to get the hook-up from somewhere - because their assignment is usually very, very "posh" (Our assignment is made up by the shift prior).

So this one particular day, my co-worker makes a big deal outta their skimpy two patients versus my four patients. I tried to ignore it, but like I said.....sigh....Its a thorn in my side. Before I could control my mouth, I said something along the line of being hooked up because of the "Filipino" thing. (Patience please..Hurry up, and throw in "shut your mouth up Rebel" with it....).

So my co-worker makes a big scene complete with histrionic effects and heart attacks and so fourth. I felt bad enough to latter ask if they wanted to talk privately, in which I would've apologized and stated the reason I said it - But MAINLY to apologize. My co-worker wanted to do a scene on the floor, or meet with management (dayum???).

Since I wasn't about get into a discussion on the floor, there hasn't been any closure to the incident. We are cordial to one another, but I will never feel "comfortable" with this person again.

I guess I'm saying all this to say, we can joke and kid around all day long about race not being a big deal, but when someone feels like being offended, I feel we've gotten nowhere. I won't trust to talk openly to someone again, unless I really feel they are my good, good, good "way-back when" friend. My Filipino friends say my co-worker was holding on to that card to cash in for awhile. Though I admit I used the un-PC statement in an "attitudinal" way, most know I'm not the one to dog or down a culture of people. I might say something that may come out wrong, but I'm not out to offend or hate anybody.

Sigh.....So that's my take on approaching another minority.


835 Posts

Don't know how or why this topic ended up in this forum of Nursing Polls. I posted it in general nursing discussion. Oh well.

Specializes in ICU, nutrition.

This is the PM I sent to LasVegasRN when I thought her really thought-provoking thread had been deleted:

I thought this was a good thread; however, I got busy putting my son and dogs to bed so I wasn't paying attention for awhile. Then I noticed that you posted that your thread got deleted. Did someone post something really nasty after I did, or what? I didn't think what I said could offend anyone.

I have found that the reason the people of different races and cultures where I live seem to get along is that they are not afraid to talk about each others differences and similarities. I'll be honest; I grew up in an all-white school in a mostly white rural area. We didn't move there because it was all white; we moved there because it was close to my dad's new job, we liked the house and we could afford it (my parents bought a fixer-upper and remodeled it). Until I went to college most of my dealings with black, Asian, Hispanic or any other minorities were few and far between. I roomed with a black girl my freshman year and she really educated me. See, I grew up thinking we were more different than alike, and I learned that we're more alike than different. The biggest school district in the state I grew up in was going through a huge desegregation lawsuit when I was in elementary school, and I remember hearing about "white flight." All I knew about minorities was what I heard from my parents and at school.

Then I moved here four years ago, where there are nearly equal numbers of black and white people. I was afraid that people would not get along, that black people would assume I was a certain way because I'm white. But I was so wrong. The people of all races here treat each other with respect. They base their judgements of people on the content of their character, not the color of their skin (to loosely quote MLK). One of my closest friends in nursing school was black, and she was my clinical partner in our last semester. We were raised in different places by different parents of different religions in different circumstances, but we still had a lot in common. And she was not afraid to ask me why I did or thought some things, and likewise I was not afraid to ask her.

You may be completely bored by what I just wrote, but I think a dialogue about any subject, as long as it doesn't resort to namecalling, can be educational. It's important to explore why we do the things we do, right or wrong, and to understand why we feel a certain way.

Like I said before, great thread.


835 Posts

Excellent. This is exactly the type of dialogue I was looking for. It's a shame the thread has been buried into an obscure forum, but hoping there will still be replies.


333 Posts

Specializes in correctional, psych, ICU, CCU, ER.

Heck, where I work, I'm the minority, female, Caucasian, married, drug free, intelligent, and did I mention, cute. Go. Vegas!!

Specializes in ICU, nutrition.

Look under polls for LasVegasRN's thread about minorities. It is truly an enlightening discussion without namecalling or ugliness. At least at this point it is!:kiss

Who knows what could happen tomorrow!

Note: Merged threads together. Karen


333 Posts

Specializes in correctional, psych, ICU, CCU, ER.

That's Vegas for ya!! You go girl!!

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