Who will listen then?

Nurses General Nursing


It's been brought..

Before I begin, please let me just say I'm reporting on what I have observed on my unit and other units at my facility. I'm looking for a solution if there are any to be found. So it is on my residents behalf and in one case mine that I am speaking for ......

Over the past few years while working in the LTC facility, I have observed much discrimination if I may say against our white residents by our Black CNA's. Not all Black CNA's, but a good number of them. I'll start off with the way AM care is given because to be honest, that's all I've seen since I work the midnight shift. It seems that the Black CNA's cater to the Black residents first and if they have time the they go to the White residents. (ie) They get all the black residents OOB first, they feed all the Black residents first. If the White residents haven't been fed by the time they leave no one is notified hence, no breakfast because the dayshift just doesn't feed breakfast..."That's not my job, it should be done by the time I get in!" "They don't pay me enough to feed two meals!" If time is getting late, some residents are skipped over and no am care is given...always the white guys. I want to cry some days it's that bad. I Could complain. If I said anything to anybody, I'm the bad guy and the retaliation begins. I need my job to feed my family and pay my bills. The union rep on our unit is black, the union president is black...who will listen then? I don't want to start anything. The suits don't want to hear it, "Take care of it amongst yourselves," they say. It all comes back to you... Maybe this is their way of getting back from past history, I don't know. Life isn't fair, but these war fighting vets don't deserve this kind of treatment. They fought for all of us.

Work with a Black CNA, he hates my guts. Why? I've never done anything to him. Accusses me of making a mess giving a Black resident (that he just dressed and got OOB) his medication in applesauce. Told him (and he knew) that he wasn't my resident and that I didn't give him ANY medication, but as he went around the corner I heard him saying, "That phat Muther F***er blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah! He's also an ex-patient. Probably didn't take his medication that day or forgot to get the prescription re-filled. Gotta treat him with kid gloves, but...that was uncalled for and it shocked me to say the least. He calls off at least one day whenever he is assigned to work with me and when he does, the tension is so high. I have to feel him out before I speak to him. I say Hi to him when he walks onto the unit and he keeps walking. He's fine to everyone else except to the Chinese nurse. He's one of the discriminators to the white residents ONLY WHEN I'M WORKING WITH HIM. The other day he says to the black resident that he was giving AM care, "What do you think of the sniper guy?" "I bet he's a white dude." I was giving the white resident in the same room his meds. The white guy was left in bed and not given his tray, but the other was cleaned, dressed and gotten OOB. How cruel....What can I say? I find it difficult to deal with some people. Does anyone else have these kinds of problems or have any suggestions on how to deal with this dilemma? I won't quit because I'm there 25 years and will not start at the bottom somewhere else at this point.


835 Posts

In the sad and sometimes complex world that we live in, discrimination runs both ways.

I have seen in LTC's where CNA's play favorites - unfortunate, but true. To an extent, there are quite a few of us who could admit to having some residents that we are more friendly to than others simply because they are either easier to relate to or we find we can relate to them on some level. I don't think that in and of itself is a bad thing, BUT, when you very clearly provide a different level of care to those "favorites" that is unfair.

How to address this. Well, I can see where having a staff meeting will just place others on the defensive. Almost invariably, the comment is made that some are "so sensitive" which makes the tension ten times worse.

Just because the union rep and president are black doesn't mean you shouldn't approach them with the issue. I can definitely understand your apprehension, but if no one speaks up nothing will change.

I had a similar incident happen when I was the supervisor and a black CNA was "playing favorites". I had to commend the staff member for bringing it up because she had to feel the same apprehension that I, being black, wouldn't listen. But, after I listened to what she said, took the time to observe that CNA's behavior, and really examine what was happening on the unit, there was no disputing that everything she said was true.

The HARD part for me, being the supervisor, and being black, was talking to the CNA about it. I had to do my job to make sure all the patients were being cared for properly and equally. I was apprehensive about being labeled "one of them" if it appeared I was "siding with the white folks" or even being labeled a "suit".

When I spoke with the CNA, I didn't even bring up the race issue. I broke it down in productivity and quality. I told her I needed to see CONSISTENCY in how she treated and cared for ALL of the patients. I told her she and her peers had to make sure ALL of the patients were bathed, fed, rooms cleaned, etc. BEFORE change of shift and if any patient was lacking THEY (the CNA's) needed to work together to make sure EVERYONE and every task was completely before they clocked out. I held all the CNA's accountable to the same standard so they could not say I was riding one harder than the other.

Eventually, the problem was solved without having to bring in the racial bias.


92 Posts

Have you really ever worked/ had any dealings with the president or representative? These guys may be in a totally different ball park than your co-workers ya know. Though they are both black, does not make them racial or discrimantory like your coworkers...they may be professional about the situation and helpful. It's a hard call. You sound as if you are in a horrible situation...I'll have to think on this one and get back...(((Michele)))


859 Posts

Michele, as Vegas said--if a significant number of patients are being neglected on a regular basis, can you not track that over a period of say, 1 - 2 weeks and then present to your manager or supervisor? There's no need to point out the skin color of the neglected patients--the fact that ANY number of patients are being left unfed or uncared for is reason to act. If you present the data, the manager can figure out for herself what the patterns are (which shift, which caregivers, which patients).

I agree that this should be approached in a color-blind, patient-centered way. You're right--vets (hell, ANY patients) deserve better care than this.

jnette, ASN, EMT-I

4,388 Posts

Specializes in Hemodialysis, Home Health.

Vegas, you're too kool ! :cool:

Great job ! Great wisdom ! Good for you.

I must say I was appalled by Night Owl's post...speechles... shock and disbelief. Black OR White...regardless... simply do not comprehend...this is allowed to HAPPEN? I wouldn't last one day ...if they all were polka dotted ! There's no excuse.........

:eek: :o


163 Posts

You can't change the way people think, but you sure as hell can change the way they work. Do you not have a written / employee warning policy where you work? If so use it to the fullest. Have documented evidence of neglect , race doesn't have to be an issue in the report. At our facility it's three strikes and your out. where do they get some of these people anyway?


835 Posts

They come from all walks of life, Noelle. When you interview them, they put on a magnificent face of caring and compassion. Once they get comfortable, all their prejudices and ignorance seeps out. There's always a gamble you take when hiring staff and it takes a definite know-how to do it well. A good manager/supervisor does not consider race, gender or age, you consider skill, work history, reliability, and knowledge.

There's just not a simple way to interview to screen out prejudice and ignorance.


753 Posts

Specializes in Pediatric Rehabilitation.

night owl, your topic line lacks "umph"..not the drawing you were seeking :D


you ARE "one of them"..lol j/k Seriously, vegas, you rock.


I have a different concern. I think it's human nature for one to take care of their own first..kinda like a maternal thing. My concern isn't so much the discrimination as is the fact that it appears the CNA's just don't have time to do all that's required of them. I don't see the harm in them caring for the black resident's first (not that I agree with their reasoning) as long as they do what's needed for everyone in the course of the day. They can't be expected to give immediate and equal care to everyone, so to suggest they change their ritual would suggest they care for the white residents first...that's no better than the current problem. Are they wasting time after finishing with the black residents or do they not have enough time to do everyone??

Now, I have another opinion. I've seen numerous times where the white nurses favor the white residents (as someone earlier stated it's normal (not right) to spend more time with those you're more comfortable with/have more in common with). Is it possible the CNA's are compensating for what their seeing the white nurses do..or not do? ALSO, AND MOST importantly, I've witnessed over and over again, white residents calling the black CNA's and black nurses "niggers" (gawd I can't believe I typed that) and talking to them as if they are their slaves. Damned if I'd go out of my way to care for someone who talked down to me like that...ESPECIALLY if my race had suffered what the black race has. I watched my own, biggoted grandmother do the above..and I was hurt, shocked and amazed all at the same time. The sweet little black ladies would care for her as if she were their mother...all the while, she cursing them and calling them every derrogatory term she could muster (she did have dementia, BUT not an excuse for racial slurs, imho).

So, I think sometimes, we have to look at the whole picture..not just in black and white. Yes, I notice our CNA's providing BETTER care to black patients, but I also don't feel they neglect the white. I don't think there's anything wrong with selectively going the extra mile..so long as everyone's basic needs are met. This is one of those things that is not likely go change in our lifetime, so the best thing we can do is try to understand why these things happen..and try to set an example for everyone.


835 Posts

Well, I see my thread was deleted. I'm about tired of this.


2,099 Posts

Specializes in Corrections, Psych, Med-Surg.

Vegas, you been writin' them porny posts again?

bagladyrn, RN

2,286 Posts

Specializes in OB.

I agree with what vegas has written - instead of approaching it from a race perspective, simply that "I have noted that not all residents are receiving a.m. care in a timely manner" Perhaps outlining a schedule, maybe starting with one end of the hall one day, the other end the alternate day, in order to assure that all get consistent attention. Obviously, this will not change attitudes, as that comes only from within, but will make favoritism in treatment more difficult, and easier to document if it does occur.

bagladyrn, RN

2,286 Posts

Specializes in OB.
Originally posted by LasVegasRN

Well, I see my thread was deleted. I'm about tired of this.

What got deleted Vegas? Got me curious now....

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