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When a Patient Doesn’t Want You as Their Nurse

When a Patient Doesn’t Want You as Their Nurse

Terri Polick | NursingLink

In addition to gender bias, racial discrimination is a sad, but real obstacle in nursing. Regina B. and Frederica C. are African American nurses who’ve experience racism at work. They both know firsthand that racism is alive and well and that nurses of color must be prepared to deal with this reality. Regina doesn’t like being called names, but understands that some people are stuck in their ignorance. “I just try to remember that some people can’t do any better. They are just raised like that,” she said. “I don’t want any patient to feel uncomfortable, so I try to find another nurse to take my place. If I can’t, I take care of the patient the best way I know how, but I try to make them as comfortable as possible.”

Frederica tries talking to the patient, seizing the opportunity to try an educate the individual about diversity. “Sometimes, people have misconceptions about other groups of people that can change with just a little bit of education,” she said. Even though she knows you can’t change everyone, Frederica tries to stick it out and is encouraged when patients change their attitudes after getting to know her, “It feels good when you can break the barrier that keeps people from getting along.”

Don’t take anything a patient tells you personally. Just remember, you can’t please everyone, so just keep moving. Most patients are like the old gentleman in the picture: They love and appreciate you as their nurse.

The nurses in this story were referred to by their first name and last initial for reasons of confidentiality.

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