Survey finds racism in nursing still an issue

Nearly half of the respondents say there is widespread racism in nursing.

After the nation has been rocked by protests over racial justice, there is still work to do in the healthcare industry.

According to a news release, a national survey of nurses from the National Commission to Address Racism in Nursing found that more than half of respondents report there is widespread racism in the field. Of the 5,600 respondents, 63 percent of nurses say they have personally experienced an act of racism in the workplace. Of these, 66 percent say that racist act was transgressed by a peer with 60 percent say it was transgressed by a manager or supervisor.

“My colleagues and I braced ourselves for these findings. Still, we are disturbed, triggered, and unsettled by the glaring data and heartbroken by the personal accounts of nurses,” Ernest J. Grant, commission co-lead and president of the American Nurses Association. “We are even more motivated and committed to doing this important work justice. Racism and those individuals who do not commit to changing their ways but continue to commit racist acts have absolutely no place in the nursing profession.”

The majority, 81 percent, of nurses who reported witnessing an act of racism in the workplace say that it was directed towards a peer. Meanwhile 57 percent of nurses say they have challenged racist treatment in their workplace, but 64 percent say their efforts have resulted in no change, according to the release.

Sixty-nine percent of Hispanic respondents, 73 percent of Asian respondents, and 74 percent of respondents who were members of other communities of color reported having personally experienced racism in their workplace. Among Black nurses, 72 percent say that there is a lot of racism in nursing, compared to 29 percent of white nurses. An overwhelming 92 percent of Black respondents say they have personally experienced racism in the workplace from their leaders. 66 percent have experienced it from their peers, and 68 experienced it from patients, the release says.

“The acts of exclusion, incivility, disrespect and denial of professional opportunities that our nurses have reported through this survey, especially our Black, Hispanic and Asian nurses, is unacceptable,” Adrianna Nava, commission co-lead and president of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses, says in the release. “Racism is a trauma that leaves a lasting impact on a person’s mental, spiritual, and physical health as well as their overall quality of life. As the largest health care workforce in the country, we must come together to address racism in nursing as the health of our nation depends on the health and well-being of our nurses.”