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Survey Shows Substantial Racism in Nursing

Black nurse wearing glasses speaking on the phone while sitting at a work station.

On January 25, 2022, the National Commission to Address Racism in Nursing (the Commission) released the results from a survey of over 5,600 nurses with findings showing racism is a substantial problem within the profession.

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Nearly half of nurses agree there is 'a lot' of racism in nursing.

“I have been called the ‘n’ word by multiple patients on multiple occasions… I have been called ‘colored’ by a nurse manager.”

63% of nurses surveyed say that they have personally experienced an act of racism in the workplace with the transgressors being either a peer (66%), patients (63%), or a manager or supervisor (60%).

These findings validate the Commission’s new definition of racism : “assaults on the human spirit in the form of actions, biases, prejudices, and an ideology of superiority based on race that persistently cause moral suffering and physical harm of individuals and perpetuate systemic injustices and inequities.”

57% of nurses said they have challenged racism in the workplace, but more than half said their efforts resulted in no change.

“Speaking truth to power takes courage… I have been ostracized for my advocacy and passed over for promotions.”

Over ½ of nurses say racism in the workplace has impacted their professional well-being.

“I have felt as if there was no way I would advance my career at some facilities due to my race. This has caused stress, anxiety, and some depression.”

The Commission urges all nurses across every health care setting and environment to join us in boldly confronting individual and systemic racism. Nurses need to take the time to educate themselves on this issue to gain a deeper knowledge of racism’s impact on the profession, patients, and colleagues.

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