National Survey of Nurses Finds Extensive Racism in the Workplace
The National Commission to Address Racism in Nursing has released a national survey that asked 5,600 nurses about racism in their places of work; nearly half said there is “a lot” of racism in nursing. Large majorities of nurses of color reported that they have personally experienced racism in the workplace, and two thirds of the nurses who said they have challenged it reported that their efforts resulted in no change. More than half said that racism has impacted their professional well-being.
- Overall, 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%).
- 72% of Black nurses who responded said there is a lot of racism in nursing, compared to 29% of white nurse respondents.
- 92% of Black respondents have personally experienced racism in the workplace from their leaders (70%), peers (66%), and the patients in their care (68%).
- Many respondents across the Asian (73%) and Hispanic (69%) populations as well as other communities of color (74%) reported that they have personally experienced racism in the workplace.
Scharmaine Lawson, DNP, FNP, FAAN, co-chair of the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee, was not surprised at the survey results, and encouraged by the attention to the issue.
“The nursing profession is not immune to the prickly sting of racism,” Lawson said. “It’s something I have personally experienced in the workforce and in academia. I’m happy to see dialogue on this topic that seems to be trending. While the conversations are nice and acutely necessary, let’s make our action plans trend.”
Eric J. Williams, DNP, RN, CNE, ANEF, FAAN who recently served as president of the National Black Nurses Assn. Inc., also expressed some hope. “I am excited that the ANA identifies that ‘now’ is the time that our profession recognize and eliminate all forms of racism essential to creating a healthy diverse nursing workforce that is centered on inclusivity and equity for all,” he said. But Williams, who co-chairs the Campaign’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee with Lawson, added, “Despite awareness of racisms in nursing for decades, underrepresented and marginalized people of color working as professional nurses experience racism and consequently, receive less support in the profession as compared to their white counterparts.”
Learn more about the survey here: https://www.nursingworld.org/survey-on-racism
The National Commission to Address Racism in Nursing was launched in January of 2021 to examine the issue of racism within nursing nationwide and describe the impact on nurses, patients, communities, and health care systems to motivate all nurses to confront systemic racism. The Commission is led by the American Nurses Association (ANA), National Black Nurses Association (NBNA), National Coalition of Ethnic Minority Nurse Associations (NCEMNA), and National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN).
ANA continues to accept public comment on its work to address racism in nursing.