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Racism in Nursing: Survey Results

Racism in Nursing: Survey Results

The National Commission to Address Racism in Nursing has released findings from a survey of more than 5600 nurses indicating that racism is a substantial problem within the profession.

The organization defines racism as: “Assaults on the human spirit in the form of biases, prejudices, and an ideology of superiority that persistently cause moral suffering and perpetuate injustices and inequities.” (National Commission to Address Racism in Nursing, April 2021).

Almost half those surveyed by the commission, a coalition of nursing organizations, declared that racism in nursing is widespread. Of note is the role leadership plays in perpetuating racism by structural and systemic practices, and the divergence in perceptions of black nurses (72%) and white nurses (29%) as to the widespread nature of racism in nursing. The organization recognizes that this is societal issue impacting every profession, but suggests nursing bears a particular responsibility to work toward racial justice and allyship.

“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,” said Commission Co-lead and National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN) President Adrianna Nava, PhD, MPA, MSN, RN. “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.”

The commission also released a foundational report for public comment. APNA members are invited to review and provide input on sections of the report.