Being a nurse of color.

Nurses Relations


I'm having trouble. I've experienced this before at other places where there aren't many people of color in positions such as nurses. It's just a little more in my way this time whereas other places it simply in your face, but it never impeded my care. I have this person that I work with. Matter of fact I have a couple. One is a tech, when they work with me, they will often try to take report for me as I'm sitting there, or tell me what I should do or how I should care for my patients. I'm always open to advice from anyone. However, it is often done in front of other staff members or patients almost to make it seem like I don't know what I'm doing. I've tried to be kind about it. But it continued. I have another nurse that will come in my rooms and completely take control. I, again, don't mind the help but I'm often met with rolling eyes, scoffs and a lack of closed communication. They even tried to both bag my patient for me as I'm bagging the patient and place the IV. Standing in my way, and over me telling me I'm doing things wrong. When in fact I am doing them correctly. It's not help if it's over controlling. That includes this individual medicating my patient without communicating to me, or giving it to me to sign off. I had to ask 4 times before looking on my own. They would often ask for help. And when I don't need it and kindly let them know I don't need it. They'd scoff, roll their eyes, or stomp off and complain about me. I asked a couple nurses of color if they experience the same thing. Some even stated they had others make complete lies about them to keep them from getting certain positions. They stated it happens to them often, and they have to correct it, while other nurses not of color, don't have this issue. I'm new, I don't want to make waves, or make everything an issue of race. It's difficult to not see it, especially when you see it so often. Not to mention some micro aggressions that I receive in a shift to shift basis. I'm frustrated and it's causing me to feel a little stressed, as this is only an example of a single person. This scenario has happened multiple times. I just want to do my job, and not be belittled or automatically deemed incompetent. I want to try to handle it on my own, gently and carefully. I know me I can handle my own but it makes it difficult to want to speak out without causing a whole mess of issues. Anyway.. IDK what else to say 

TriciaJ, RN

4,328 Posts

Specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory.

Is there someone you can speak to?  Before assuming reasons, is it possible some of your coworkers are just overbearing?

I would speak to a supervisor and tell her you're open to constructive feedback.  But you are not open to eye-rolling or having your tasks aggressively taken over.

Similarly, call out the obvious behaviours as they occur.  "Did you just roll your eyes at me?". "Was there some urgent reason you grabbed the IV equipment out of my hands?"

It doesn't really matter why your coworkers behave as they do.  They're welcome to their own thoughts and beliefs.  But the unprofessional behaviours you describe need to be nipped.

I hope you can get some help and support with this.  It's a tough problem to have to tackle alone.



Delia37, MSN

160 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care.

I agree with the above poster. These interactions (eye rolling and what not) need to be addressed in real time; meaning, when it occurs, pull the person aside and had that conversation. That way, if it happens again and it needs to be escalated, the fact that you addressed it with then 1st, will demonstrate your professionalism. You are the new person (not sure, if you are a new grad) so boundaries will be pushed; it is up to you how far you will allow it (you would be amaze how quick some people back down when confronted).  Another issue that is really concerning is another nurse medicating your patients (especially narcotics) without your consent. Reminds me of a colleague who was diverting narcotics by doing that; please be very asserting in owning your assignment against that practice. 

CrunchRN, ADN, RN

4,514 Posts

Specializes in Clinical Research, Outpt Women's Health.

I wonder if it might be them seeing you as a new nurse more than anything. You will need to establish limits though with the tech etc. You are the nurse.

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