U.S. Nurses Encounter High Levels of Racial Discrimination, New Study Reveals

Study reveals 80% of US nurses face racial discrimination from patients & colleagues. Urgent calls for diversity training & stricter policies. Nurses Headlines News


U.S. Nurses Encounter High Levels of Racial Discrimination, New Study Reveals

Nearly 80% of nurses in the United States experience racism and discrimination from patients, with Asian, Black, and Latino nurses facing significantly more racist microaggressions compared to their White colleagues, a recent study reveals. The survey, carried out by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, exposed the prevalence of racial slurs and questioning of credentials, mainly targeting minority nurses.

The study also showed that the problem extended beyond patient interactions, with six in 10 nurses facing discriminatory behavior from their colleagues. Of those who had experienced such racial prejudice, 90% reported negative impacts on their well-being and mental health.

Related: One-Third U.S. RNs Plan to Quit, According to Survey

Despite these alarming figures, the majority of these incidents are unreported. The survey found that only a quarter of the nurses who had faced or witnessed discrimination reported it to management.

In their quest for a solution, surveyed nurses pointed out increasing diversity at management levels and enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion training. A whopping 80% of respondents also called for strict workplace policies against discrimination, clearly defined consequences, and guaranteed anonymity for those reporting such incidents, viewing them as critical strategies for retaining racially and ethnically diverse nurses.

Accountability for the Behavior

"We as nurses must hold ourselves accountable for our own behavior and work to change the systems that perpetuate racism and other forms of discrimination," emphasized Beth Toner, an RN and director of program communications at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Her statement accompanied the research findings.

The survey included 980 nurses polled in March and April 2022 to gather their experiences and perspectives on racism in their field. 

As per data from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the U.S. is home to roughly 4.2 million registered nurses, marking them as the largest segment of the healthcare profession. The results of the recent survey highlight the urgent need to address racial bias within this substantial community, impacting the workforce and the quality of patient care.

This news was originally reported by CBS.

(Editorial Team / Admin)

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