Nurses May Fail to Recognize Their Own Implicit Bias, Survey Says

A survey completed by nurses and APPs revealed that many healthcare professionals may be blind to their own implicit biases.

Although 70% of nurses agreed that implicit bias negatively impacts the care that patients receive, the number of nurses who believe that they are personally affected by implicit bias is much smaller, explained Gretchen A. McNally, PhD, ANP-BC, AOCNP, James Cancer Hospital & Solove Research Institute.

McNally recently spoke to Oncology Nursing News® about their research assessing substance abuse disorder-related implicit bias in oncology nursing. McNally noted that, in survey responses, many nurses did not believe they themselves, were impacted by implicit bias, although they answered that their colleagues may be.

“The first question was, does stereotype or bias impact the quality of life that patients receive, and then the next question was actually specific to the person themselves and they were asked ‘ [Am I] certain I treat all persons the same regardless of current or past opioid use disorder?’ And about 70% of nurses and 50 % of APPS agreed or strongly agreed that they felt that they treated all patients the same regardless of their history of opioid use disorder.

“I felt that was interesting because while more participants recognized that yes, bias does impact care, they did not [feel] that that applied to them, that while it does affect some people, not the care that they deliver, so they were kind of blind that they may also have or be impacted by implicit bias.”