In the national survey of over 900 nurses, respondents said they had seen or experienced racism from 80% of patients and 60% from colleagues, but fewer than one in four reported the incidents.
Black, Latino and Asian nurses are considerably more likely than their white counterparts to face racist microaggressions, and they informed researchers that patients frequently use racial slurs or question their qualifications.
Most nurses interviewed for the survey expressed that they believed human resources employees, administrators, and even union leaders did little to help, and over half who did make reports said their relationships with supervisors and fellow nurses deteriorated as a result.
According to the survey, six out of ten nurses have experienced discrimination from their coworkers. Nine out of ten nurses who have faced racism or prejudice say it has harmed their well-being and mental health.
“We as nurses must hold ourselves accountable for our own behavior and work to change the systems that perpetuate racism and other forms of discrimination,” Beth Toner, a registered nurse and director of program communications at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation said in a news statement, CBS reports.
Nurses said that increasing diversity in management would help address the issues and provide more training on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Eight in 10 nurses said “zero-tolerance workplace discrimination policies, clear consequences, and reporting anonymity” would improve the ability to retain racially and ethnically diverse nurses.
According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the United States has about 4.2 million registered nurses, making up the largest component of the healthcare profession.