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Thoughts on the prevalence of name discrimination in nursing?

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From what I've seen, employers want a decent level of "diversity" amongst their employees. Do you think this is really true? Have you encountered discrimination in the hiring process? If so, what actions did you take (or not)??

Ruby Vee, BSN

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching. Has 40 years experience.

I guess I'm not entirely clear on what you are asking. Do employers discriminate in choosing which people they'd like to interview based on the name on the resume? Are they inferring race or religion based on the name?

MrChicagoRN, RN

Specializes in Leadership, Psych, HomeCare, Amb. Care. Has 30 years experience.

It's possible, but not probable.

But, I work in the big city, where multiculturalism is the norm.

and, it would be easy enough to prove. If Mohammed applies and Kimberly applies with pretty much the same resume and only Kimberly gets called in for interviews in that could indicate that there is indeed bias. I'd like to think that the quest for the best candidate makes names pretty irrelevant to most interviewers

LadyFree28, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatrics, Rehab, Trauma. Has 10 years experience.

I have a VERY unusual name; it has never stopped me from getting positions or interviews or jobs.

If someone doesn't pick me solely on my name, no worries, I know some other facilities that will be willing to hire me. :yes:

It's possible, but not probable.

But, I work in the big city, where multiculturalism is the norm.

and, it would be easy enough to prove. If Mohammed applies and Kimberly applies with pretty much the same resume and only Kimberly gets called in for interviews in that could indicate that there is indeed bias. I'd like to think that the quest for the best candidate makes names pretty irrelevant to most interviewers

And I wonder what they'd do when Kimberly showed up for her interview in full head covering, as a devout Muslim? :)

I guess I'm not entirely clear on what you are asking. Do employers discriminate in choosing which people they'd like to interview based on the name on the resume? Are they inferring race or religion based on the name?

I live in a small city / large town. The type of place where there's only two hospital groups in control of the whole region. I guess I'm asking if having a last name that's very hard to spell or pronounce could become a real problem. If I had a lot of great nursing experience I wouldn't be as worried. The problem is that I'm still just trying to get some good experience. I follow up with my applications, ask if there is anything I could/ should be doing differently, and these hospital HR people just say "No. Keep trying." Are they just saying that? I have kept trying. I am currently working in a specialty some think is no good (LTC). I want to know how I can get a hospital to give me a chance? It's starting to feel like they have been pitching my applications as soon as they come in because I never even get to interview.

Here.I.Stand, BSN, RN

Specializes in SICU, trauma, neuro. Has 16 years experience.

And I wonder what they'd do when Kimberly showed up for her interview in full head covering, as a devout Muslim? :)

Hey I know a Mohammed who is a Christian, and a fair amount of blond-haired, blue-eyed hijabi's. :yes:

LadyFree28, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatrics, Rehab, Trauma. Has 10 years experience.

I follow up with my applications, ask if there is anything I could/ should be doing differently, and these hospital HR people just say "No. Keep trying." Are they just saying that? I have kept trying. I am currently working in a specialty some think is no good (LTC). I want to know how I can get a hospital to give me a chance? It's starting to feel like they have been pitching my applications as soon as they come in because I never even get to interview.

I really think they are genuine; most hospitals have a 500:1 ratio and higher per desirable areas; they have to sift through internal employees; experienced nurses with varied experience or desiring to transfer specialities, as well as new grads; it is truly the luck of the draw.

I applied to a particular job FIVE times and for TWO YEARS and they FINALLY called back for an interview and I nailed it; but the went with an internal candidate; the silver lining in this story is the director was so impressed, he wanted to forward my résumé to one of the nurse managers and of course I said YES-I can hope something comes from it, but I keep pounding the pavement...but it feels good to have contacts in, and then it's still a matter to time, either way. ;)

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 15 years experience.

People with black-sounding names such as Tameka, Jamal and Raheim are 50 percent less likely to receive callbacks when they submit resumes, regardless of how qualified they are.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/black-names-a-resume-burden/

Personally, I am a black female with a mainstream name that was popular during the Baby Boomer generation (think Carrie, Lindsay or Kelly).

Name discrimination happens on several fronts: people attempt to guess one's age based on the name. For instance, people these days do not really name their little girls Debbie, Linda, Pamela, Judith or Janet, as these names were popular a couple of generations ago.

Chica22

Has 15 years experience.

Agreed! After many rounds like you experienced, a hospital recruiter said in-house "networking" was key.

LadyFree28, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatrics, Rehab, Trauma. Has 10 years experience.

Agreed! After many rounds like you experienced, a hospital recruiter said in-house "networking" was key.

As well as getting to know those recruiters are good as well... :yes:

Everyone in my network is on the outside looking in. Most of the other nurses at my jobs are kind of new and never have wanted to or found work in a hospital. A group of young BSNs at one job said they never wanted hospital work. It sounded crazy, but they looked serious because they had been working at a SNF since graduating two years prior. Most (all as far as I know?) can't get a hospital job because the school produces way more grads than the area can handle. Knowing that, I have ventured away, as far as I can commute, but I don't know anybody in these other areas I have been trying. Should I send candy or sandwiches to these HR people? Would that work in my favor?

Ruby Vee, BSN

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching. Has 40 years experience.

I live in a small city / large town. The type of place where there's only two hospital groups in control of the whole region. I guess I'm asking if having a last name that's very hard to spell or pronounce could become a real problem. If I had a lot of great nursing experience I wouldn't be as worried. The problem is that I'm still just trying to get some good experience. I follow up with my applications, ask if there is anything I could/ should be doing differently, and these hospital HR people just say "No. Keep trying." Are they just saying that? I have kept trying. I am currently working in a specialty some think is no good (LTC). I want to know how I can get a hospital to give me a chance? It's starting to feel like they have been pitching my applications as soon as they come in because I never even get to interview.

You're currently working in long term care and you don't have great experience. You don't have very much experience? Stay in long term care long enough to learn as much as you can and to become competent -- about two years. Then start looking for a job in a hospital again, and it's far more likely someone will bit on your resume -- no matter how difficult your name.

Ruby Vee, BSN

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching. Has 40 years experience.

People with black-sounding names such as Tameka, Jamal and Raheim are 50 percent less likely to receive callbacks when they submit resumes, regardless of how qualified they are.

'Black' Names A Resume Burden? - CBS News

Personally, I am a black female with a mainstream name that was popular during the Baby Boomer generation (think Carrie, Lindsay or Kelly).

Name discrimination happens on several fronts: people attempt to guess one's age based on the name. For instance, people these days do not really name their little girls Debbie, Linda, Pamela, Judith or Janet, as these names were popular a couple of generations ago.

A police detective once told me that they arrest far more black kids with "black" sounding names than they do black kids with mainstream names like John or Douglas or Carrie or Lindsay. When asked if it was bias against the kids with "black" names, he said no. "Parents who name their kids John or Carrie are more likely to be involved in their kids lives and value education and traditional success than parents who would name their kids something they made up. Involved parents means the kid is less likely to get into the kind of trouble that would involve a police detective."

Perhaps the name does have an effect on how other people treat those kids. Maybe it's just that their parents weren't really involved in their lives or interested in them. Or maybe it's both. But when I was on jury duty, I saw a lot more black kids with "black" names than with mainstream names.

I think there may be a lot of attempted age discrimination based on someone's name as well. My resume would clearly state that I have 38 years of experience which would give any recruiter a real good clue about my age. But the name at the top of the resume would not. The name is far more popular now than it was when my mother chose it.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 15 years experience.

"Parents who name their kids John or Carrie are more likely to be involved in their kids lives and value education and traditional success than parents who would name their kids something they made up. Involved parents means the kid is less likely to get into the kind of trouble that would involve a police detective."

Interesting. I'm black with a mainstream name similar to Carrie, but people with upbringings similar to mine statistically fall short when it comes to educational attainment or traditional success.

I'm a first-generation college student whose parents didn't heavily push education or traditional success. I cannot recall ever being read to by my parents.

My father used illicit drugs on and off during my childhood, sometimes in front of me, and he also had a drinking problem. His temper was volatile while under the influence, so I witnessed some acts of domestic violence. He did not always keep a job and stayed in trouble with the law.

I was accepted to several regional universities during my senior year of high school, but both parents discouraged me from attending and instead encouraged me to enter the job market full-time.

So although my parents gave me a mainstream name instead of something they made up, they provided an unstimulating home environment that definitely did not place me on the trajectory to success. As bad as this sounds, I think my introverted personality and desire to never end up like them provided the spark to strive for better things in life.

It is interesting, as in my neck of the woods, diversity is everything. Our current DON, along with wanting BSN's to get to a magnet status, has gone out of the country to recruit foriegn nurses of multiple ethnicities--all in the name of diversity.

It feels like "all you privledged nurses (ie: white? supposedly rich? What does THAT even mean?) need to learn diverse cultures, work with diverse cultures, and if there's a medal or award for the most hip, welcoming, I am oh so into diverse nurses DON award, I am gonna get it. Because of my coolness factor". Fact is, that we live in a multicultural area and diversity is not a new concept, don't care if someone is any skin color, sub-cultured, teeters on the edge of quirky.....a good nurse is a good nurse.

When diversity becomes a cool factor as opposed to anything else, that is where there's an issue. Reminds me of the bussing concept of years ago.

My name is so odd that the only thing that people could assume is that I am quirky. And they would be correct. I think that I am a good nurse. Some are a bit shocked of my skin color. But why that would even be an issue, I am not so sure.

So many are seeking accolades for being diverse that it is degrading what diversity is all about.

LL143KnB, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency Room. Has 5 years experience.

Thank goodness I work for the hospital already because I have a very "Haitian" first and last name. I hope to get a job here when I'm a nurse as well. I would like to think that a hiring manager would look at my spotless history here, how I worked my way up through registration, than focus on my name. I have used to have a love/hate relationship with my first name when I was younger but now I love it. Plus with the advent of Facebook I see that other Haitians and even Asians have my name. Here I was thinking that I was an original :laugh:. I always have people asking me to pronounce it or how I spell it. Sure it gets annoying sometimes but it can be an ice breaker too. In case you're wondering my name is a variation of Luna. My fiance is white and his last name is Dutch. When we get married I'll be racially ambiguous no one will know what I am by looking at my names :).