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ANA Center for Ethics & Human Rights Position Statement on Racism in Nursing

Keziah Proctor,

SILVER SPRING, MD  –  The American Nurses Association’s (ANA) Center For Ethics and Human Rights has released a position statement, “The Nurse’s Role & Responsibility in Unveiling and Dismantling Racism in Nursing”.  The position statement affirms ANA’s commitment to decolonizing the nursing profession – the active resistance of the influence of colonized practices and thought – and introduces an emancipatory approach to nursing practice which is rooted in social justice and advances health equity. 

“This position statement is long overdue, but very much necessary,” said the ANA Director for the Center of Ethics and Human Rights, Liz Stokes, PhD, JD, RN. “We have introduced terminology that may be new for many nurses, but the concepts are the same – we are standing firm in our commitment to health equity, social justice, and breaking down the longstanding barriers, racist systems and structures that have historically barred nurses of color from advancing and realizing their true potential. This position statement provides the tools to empower nurses to practice emancipatory nursing – the active dismantling of systemic racism wherever nurses practice and replacing it with a just and equitable culture. I am truly proud of this work, and it gives me hope for the future of nursing.”

This position statement sets forth a list of recommendations to help guide and empower all nurses to practice emancipatory nursing regardless of practice setting or specialty. A few of the recommendations for all nurses:

  • All nurses engage in ongoing, critical self-reflection to identify and address those biases, fears, and racist assumptions that may affect the provision of respectful care.
  • All nurses must invest in the development of advocacy skills at the policy level to address social determinants of health.
  • All nurses must acknowledge and recognize the very tangible risks associated with decolonizing nursing.

All nurses are ethically obligated to collaborate in altering systemic structures that have a negative influence on individual and community health. There are also a special set of recommendations for nurse educators, academic nurse leaders, and nurse researchers. The foundation for this position statement is aligned with  the Code of Ethics for Nurses, Scope and Standards of Practice, and the work of the National Commission to Address Racism in Nursing. It also aligns with ANA's formal racial reconciliation for past actions and omissions that perpetuated systemic racism in the nursing profession. Read the entire position statement with the complete list of recommendations here.


About the American Nurses Association
The American Nurses Association (ANA) is the premier organization representing the interests of the nation's more than 4 million registered nurses. ANA advances the profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting a safe and ethical work environment, bolstering the health and wellness of nurses, and advocating on health care issues that affect nurses and the public. ANA is at the forefront of improving the quality of health care for all. For more information, visit



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