Discrimination in Nursing

Discrimination in Nursing

Just simple stuff about discrimination in Nursing. Discrimination in Nursing may accur regarding racial or ethnic background, gender or sex, sexual orientation and age.

1. Racial/Ethnic Discrimination
Racial and ethnic discrimination remain problem in society as a whole and unfortunately, health care system are not immune to these problem. Although there are indications that nurses have moved into greater acceptance of all individuals in advance of some other portions of society, concerns about discrimination remain.

Historically, the American Association of Colored Graduate nurse united with the American Nurses Association (ANA) in 1952, before the general civil rights movement in the United State. There have always prominent nurses of color, such as the past president of the ANA, Beverly Malone, and the current president of the National League for Nursing, Rhetaugh Dumas, and the current president of Sigma Theta Tau, May Wykle, who are all African-American women who have been leaders for all Nursing throughout their long and distinguished careers. They are just three of the many ethnic/racial minority nurses who have made significant contributions to Nursing.

However, the number of minorities in nursing does not reflect the number of minorities in the general populations. Spratley et al (2000) reported that 12,3% of nurses represent minority groups. This contrasts with a general population that has 17% racial/ethnic minorities (U.S. Census Bureau, 1999). This different may stem from many causes, but is of concern because a workforce that reflects the population is more likely to meet the health care needs of that population in a culturally sensitive manner.

Some of the root causes of the lower participation of minorities in nursing have to do with access to education, support for high career goals, economic status, the image of nursing, institutionalize racism, and other general social problems.

A survey minority nurses published by the ANA indicated that many believe that they have been adversely affected by discrimination in nursing profession. Some concerns cited were the perception that others questioned their capabilities and that they were passed over for promotions. To combat this issue, several organizations for ethnic nurses have joined together to create the National Coalition of Ethnic Minority Nurses Associations (Bessent, 2002).

Nurses are challenged to examine this situation and be a part of solution. All of us need to recognize and welcome diversity in the nursing profession. We need to acknowledge that a diversity of views and life experiences will enrich nursing as a profession and support excellent in patient care. When we see discrimination occurring, whether in education or in the workplace, we each need to speak up as agents for change. The National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA) has supported a program called Breakthrough to Nursing, in which nursing student mentor minority individuals in nursing education. These and similar efforts help nursing to move forward as a profession that welcome and provides opportunities for all.

2. Discrimination Against Men
Men in nursing also have expressed concern about sex discrimination. Their concern is not monetary, but is related to being allowed to practice in all areas of nursing and being accepted within the profession.

Anti-male sexism of nurses in the united state was brought to the forefront by the research of Kus (1985), who pointed out that society stereotypes men just as feminists have criticized that it stereotypes women. He made strong case for the importance of nurses examining the stereotypes they hold about men. Stereotypes narrow our thinking and interfere with people being able to develop to their fullest potential. It is important for women in nursing to examine their own behavior and identify whether they have been guilty of perpetuating outmoded stereotypes of the nurse and supporting a type of discrimination toward men that they would fight to eliminate for women.

In some facilities or areas, men are not allowed to care for women clients, or if they are allowed to care for women, restrictions are placed on them in terms of obtaining consent for care from each client. those who support the limitations on the practice of men in nursing state that it is a matter of providing for the modesty and privacy of female clients. This position was upheld by a court decision in favor of a hospital that refused to assign a men to a nursing position in labor and delivery (Arkansas judge..,”1981). The argument was made that the client did not have free choice of a nurse, but rather was assigned a nurse for care and therefore the restrictions were appropriate.

In article in the American Nurse, Ketter (1994) presented the situation of men who have felt discrimination in the workplace based on their gender. One of these men has filed three complaints with Equal Employment Opportunities Commision (EEOC) regarding discrimination in employment in obstetric/gynecologic setting in the 3 years he has been in nursing. His care is expected to end up in federal court.

In interview, Luther Chrisman, PhD, RN, discussed the discrimination that he encountered throughout a long and prestigious career in nursing. His career began with his graduation from a diploma program in 1993 and extended through doctoral studies and a joint position as dean of Rush University and vice-president of nursing for Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center in Chicago. He identified over acts that excluded him from positions and covert acts that tried to undermine his influence. He identified this as being in issue of power and control just as is sex discrimination against women(Sullivan, 2002).

Those who oppose limitations on the practice of men in nursing state that, as a professional, a nurse (whether a man or women) should always consider the privacy and modesty of client of either gender. This can be done without excluding anyone from providing care in a any area. By careful assessment, the nurse can determine the true needs of the client and plan for appropriate avenues to deliver that care. Furthermore, the point has been made that men physicians have not excluded from any branch of medicine and this has not created problems.

The client does not always choose physicians, either. House staff are assigned, referral are made to specialty physician, and many group plans designate a physician to provide care. Female nurses care for male clients in all situations. This has been accepted because women are see in a nurturing, mothering role that the public associates with nursing.

The American Assembly for Men in Nursing provides a forum for the concerns of men in nursing and those who are concerned about the problems of sex discrimination. This organization seeks to educate people and oppose any limitations on opportunities available for men.

Source : Nursing in Today’s World (eighth edition, by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins)

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