Racism Is Still Prevalent in Nursing


Quanna Batiste-Brown, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, and Patricia Jakel, RN, MN, AOCN, discuss the reality of racism in nursing.

In this episode of The Vitals, Patricia Jakel, RN, MN, AOCN, co–editor-in-chief with Oncology Nursing News, sits down with Quanna Batiste-Brown, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, to discuss the reality of racism in nursing. Batiste-Brown is an adjunct associate professor and Chief Nursing Officer at UCLA Health.

The pair discuss the implications of the National Commission to Address Racism in Nursing, which, in 2021, published survey findings from 5,623 nurses. The findings showed that 50% of nurses feel that there is “a lot” of racism in nursing; that 63% of nurses have personally experienced racism in the workplace; and that 56% of nurses say that racism has impacted their mental health in the workplace.

Moreover, although 3 out of 4 nurses have witnessed racism in the workplace, 64% of those who actively challenged racism or stood up for their colleagues said their actions effected no change.

Batiste-Brown, who is part of California ANA and helped create a workforce in her group that led to the larger ANA’s commission on nursing report, discussed the implications of racism in nursing, and offered insight in how to talk to administration and coworkers about creating an inclusive community that protects employees and promotes better patient care.

Episode Highlights

“Nurses across the state were really upset and tired and wanted to do something about their own lived experiences, [and the] experiences of their patients. [They] wanted to talk about what nurses could do to affect change in racism and health equity, or the care that they are delivering and what their patients were experiencing.”

“There is opportunity for everyone to come together to have honest conversations about how we move change forward.”

“Be mindful of someone's mental health and be sure that they're not keeping that information inside of them, because it can be detrimental to your health to be going through something as severe as racism and not tell anyone about it.”

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  1. Our Racial Reckoning Statement. American Nurses Association. Accessed October 11, 2023. https://www.nursingworld.org/practice-policy/workforce/racism-in-nursing/RacialReckoningStatement/
  2. National Commission to Address Racism in Nursing. Accessed October 11, 2023. https://www.nursingworld.org/practice-policy/workforce/racism-in-nursing/national-commission-to-address-racism-in-nursing/
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