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!
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!
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!