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Patients and the race card

CanadaEh CanadaEh (New) New

Specializes in Ortho trauma. Has 2 years experience.

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Lovely_RN, MSN

Has 11 years experience.

Two whole people from ? Well geez I guess that's enough data for us to reach a consensus on the issue. Next, it just so happens that every member of OTHER minority groups thinks your NICU is wonderful except those welfare druggies from . Wow, you've had quite a few people through your NICU considering that 25% or roughly 78-80 million people in the U.S.A are minorities. What's your nurse to patient ratio?

OP, how about accepting that most people have their prejudices, let it roll of your back like every other insult that nurses have to take at times, and focus on doing your job? I've been the recipient of non-minority patients from trying to pull the "race card" on me as well by claiming reverse discrimination because I work in an area with a high minority population and am a member of a . In general addicts are manipulative to the max and will use any weapon they have in their arsenal to deflect and distract from their behavior. Know how I handled it? I said uh that's not true and let's focus on the matter at hand here which is me YOUR NURSE providing YOU THE PATIENT with care...next. :uhoh3:

It was beyond absurd...and it's funny, because OTHER minority groups, have praised the care we have given...except for this particular one. We personally, don't care who they are and the nurses never know if they are state-welfare recipients or if they are under traditional insurance...like they claim...I am too focused on the care of their baby to concern myself with how they are paying their medical bill...after all, it has ZERO effect on how I do my job.

But I am sick of it too...you show me someone that plays the race card and I'll show you someone who is their own problem...not their race.

Edited by Lovely_RN

I think "pulling the race card" is when a person of a minority race perceives that they have been under-served and their perceived lack of service is due to the fact that they are of a minority race. There are two possibly incorrect assumptions at work. The first is that there may not really be an incidence of under-service at all. The second is that although there may be an incidence of under-service, it may not be attributable to race. Matters of race can be very emotional for all parties involved as the accused usually believes that he or she has absolutely not discriminated against the accuser, and the accuser is usually absolutely convinced that the other party has definitively done so.

I listened to a black woman in one of my prerequisite classes say that she wouldn't give CPR to a Hispanic, because she didn't want to take the chance that she was helping an illegal. I've heard a pastor say he'd never offer help to a woman who was open about having had an abortion.

Why did you identify the race of the black woman but not the pastor?

Why did you identify the race of the black woman but not the pastor?

To highlight that racial back-and-forth isn't solely a black and white (pardon the pun) issue.

I don't see how this post is offensive at all. Sorry, but it's time we call a spade a spade and realize that some people WILL use the "race card" or the "gender card" or the "any kind of card they can find" to see if they can make someone jump, and do what they want when they want. I work for a state office that deals with the GP all the time, and I can't tell you how many times I have been told that "If I was white, you would do so-and-so..." or "If I was a mother, or a female, you wouldn't do so-and-so to me...". Well I'm sick of it. I don't give a hoot what color someone is, or if they are male, female, what their religion is, etc. I care about how they treat me, and how they treat others. Now unfortunately, there will always be judgemental and frankly STUPID people who judge people by these factors.

To the OP, I am still pre-nursing, got a long way to go. But as I said, I deal with this kind of behavior all the time and I think its important to--politely as possible--let the person know that they will be treated the same as anyone else, and make sure that they understand that using any kind of agenda to get better treatment, will NOT be tolerated. And, as other posters said, I think in the medical field it should be important to remember that people are scared, hurting, etc. and sometimes they just say things they don't really mean.


Specializes in Med Surg,.

:jester:I experience the stinking race card. It hurts like heel. I am a northern girl living the southern mentality. I have had clients refuse to have me care for them, I have been called the N word. I just cried. There is no way for certain to handle the stink. You can insist on caring for the buzzard but why bother slip em a mickie and keep it moving. LOL

Sorry for those who I have offended. I have traveled to many countries to experience culture and meet people that are different from me. This is one of my passions in life to! I have volunteered in Liberia, Kenya, Cambodia, Tibet and the list continues.... I am minority group myself.

Saying this, I love my job and treat all my patients in an equal manner no matter race, ethnicity, etc.

Thanks to those such as Pepper the Cat and Orange Tree for providing positive constructive feedback!



Specializes in Peds/outpatient FP,derm,allergy/private duty. Has 34 years experience.

I interpreted it to mean allowing patients to refuse a nurse of whatever ethnicity they had issues with. I'm so against that. I know it's accomodated frequently, but I really long for a time we stop allowing patients to bleed their bigotry into the nurse assignment process.

I personally have never had a patient of a different ethnicity than mine accuse me of treating them differently because of that. Aside from a few instances what we do have are manipulative people who will use anything they can think of to get what they want, and race is one of many arrows they will shoot. I think the manipulation is the dominant factor there, cries of racism a means to an end - and no "race" has a corner on that!

You know, it is really not fair to target "southern" people to imply that they are all judgemental or racist. As I stated in my earlier post, there will ALWAYS be these type of people and surely they don't all live toward the southern end! ;)


Specializes in ob, med surg.

Reading this thread, I was surprised to see how many posters pounced on the OP like she did something wrong? She was asking advice. That's all.

She is correct to be concerned. The race card is just one of many, many situations that one will find themselves in as a nurse.

I have had the race card pulled on me. All you can really do at that moment is listen to the concerns of the patient and say to them, What can I do for you to make you feel better about the situation NOW!. Don't argue, don't defend. They may have a legitimate complaint. If you can handle it -DO IT!! If you need a supervisor's help-GET IT! That's all you can do. And try not to take it personally.


Specializes in Oncology; medical specialty website.

Why did you identify the race of the black woman but not the pastor?

She was demonstrating examples of prejudice.


Specializes in PeriOperative. Has 11 years experience.

I get it. Not all the time, but more than I anticipated. When there are surgical delays, and I'm the one who keeps going out the patient it will be at least another 2 hours. I've had patients ponder out loud whether race was the reason their surgery was delayed. I also take care of a lot of prisoners who come in for surgery, and I can pretty much count on that comment, along with others, when I go through my preop assessment.


Specializes in Oncology; medical specialty website.

:jester:I experience the stinking race card. It hurts like heel. I am a northern girl living the southern mentality. I have had clients refuse to have me care for them, I have been called the N word. I just cried. There is no way for certain to handle the stink. You can insist on caring for the buzzard but why bother slip em a mickie and keep it moving. LOL


"Slip 'em a mickie"?


Sun0408, ASN, RN

Specializes in Trauma Surgical ICU. Has 4 years experience.

This is not going well at all :(


Has 18 years experience.

I'm assuming that the OP is working in Canada by their user name.

Race is uber tricky up here because we are an ethnic mosaic, NOT a cultural melting pot like the US. People will identify themselves by their ancestors homeland hyphen Canadian.

In my hospital we offer and provide halal, kosher, vegetarian (different) degrees, ethnic Chinese and there's one other I've forgotten menu.

We've had middle eastern husbands demand an all female staff, try and forbid male visitors on the unit. They have stated if we don't follow their cultural traditions we are "racist".

We are the destination hospital for major surgeries for our northern territories. So we have cultural advisors for various First Nations bands and Inuits. We have multiple staff that speak languages far ranging from the standard English, French you would expect in Canada. Cree is pretty big in my region. But the one time we can't find a Swahili interpreter on demand we are racist because we can't care for someone in their own language.

I've worked with nurses who have been destroyed by patients and their families by accusations of racism. One case was so laughable that the unit manager actually thought the nurse involved should press harrassment charges against the patient and her husband (the nurse had witnesses for her interactions with the patient (she was doing a unit orientation) but still the family insisted that the nurse was a racist because they said so.

Often the cry of racism comes as the final resort for the patient to get what they feel entitled to. A family emptied out the patient nutrition centre of snacks, juice, tea. When advised that the food was for patient consumption only, they were screamed at and told it was traditional in their culture to offer visitors food, but hey the hospital was full of racist nurses because I guess it had never crossed this families thought process to bring food to the hospital, I mean we're not in Mogadishu General.

Then you have families who left oppressed, war torn countries and are used to hospitals with nothing in them except what the family brings in. I'll never forget an Afghan woman carrying bags of towels, sheets, fruit, and toiletries onto the unit. We had to explain to the interpreter that they system provided everything and she could take it home. The look on their faces made up for all the demanding, impossible to please patients.

Well, first I hate the term race card. To me it is not about being PC but just calling it what it is: A person who perceives a prejudice based upon their race.

Next, honestly being a multitude of races, but appearing "black" or "African American" (***) gives me a good take on this. Sometimes a person may think that you may be treating them badly or under serving them because of their race. I believe that most people get this feeling for a valid reason. But I also know that many people are just nasty people, that say nasty things they know to be untrue.

On the other side of things, years ago when I was a CNA and worked at a ritzy Assisted Living facility , there were many times I got Caucasian residents that would say things like "Girl get me more water." while telling a friend (also a CNA, but white) "Dear, would you mind bringing me over to the window?" Times like those made me clench my teeth, and take a deep breath, all while telling myself to keep if professional.

And honestly a lot of people may feel discriminated against because the way things look from their point of view, and because of history.

I watched a documentary on the history channel last night talking about drugs. Something that absolutely made me laugh was to hear that "blacks" were denied the right to drink alcohol because they were too uncivilized. They couldn't take cocaine (when it was legal) because they would supposedly become crazed and try to rape every white woman in sight.

Remember, that this country was built on the backs of slaves. I am very young and I know this. But if you talk to people my parents age they can tell you more than I ever could how we are sadly always aware of our race. My parents came up during the Civil Rights Movement. My mom and aunt (her baby sister, RIP) were the first to integrate an elementary school right around the corner from their house (in a neighborhood that was at the time mostly white). That day is one that she has shared and will always remember.

She was spit at, had rocks thrown on her, and called a "tar baby". They were tormented there, but my grandmother made them stay. She made them stay because she said that is was important for them to know that they had hard working parents just like all of the other students at that school. That they had the right to be educated just as all other students at that school. That (as my grandma used to plainly put it) "They eat, sleep, and **** just like we do. We are all the same."

All this to say, that when someone does play "the race card", maybe you'll understand that they may truely feel that way. That their lives and experiences have may have brought them to a point that they expect this. And you can simply say (if it's true) "I would never, ever deny or delay your care based upon race. I regret that you feel that way, and want you to know that you and your health means as much to me as any of my other patients."

Edited by TheCommuter

For some reason this discussion has reminded me of this picture:


I've never come across behavious like this in any patient here except the unemployed, non-tax paying ignorant white British moron who rants on about "the foreigners being treated before the tax payer". Oh, once we had somebodies daughter complain because her mother was being treated "next to" a black person, but we got her escorted out of the unit for causing a scene. Her mother was a lovely, confused lady with dementia who couldn't care less who was she sat next to and didn't know about it anyway.

Edited by JDZ344


"Slip 'em a mickie"?


Payback is a female dog.:down: