7 Challenges Black Nurses Face in the Line of Duty

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Since Mary Eliza Mahoney became the first black nurse in the United States, African American nurses’ numbers remain low compared to the black population in the country. Only 6.7% of black Africans work in the industry. With that comes its challenges, which is what this article is about. Keep reading to find out and understand what the day-to-day challenges they encounter.

1. Racism

One of the biggest challenges that black nurses face is racism. Patients aren’t as welcoming to them, something that makes their jobs difficult. Additionally, their colleagues and the institutions they work for have a culture of discrimination that holds them back. Black nurses don’t get opportunities for leadership positions, and some can’t get jobs.

2. Underrepresentation

As pointed out in the opening statement, the number of black nurses in the United States doesn’t reflect the African American population. 

This means that they lack people in top positions who can relate to their experiences. 

At times, black nurses don’t have a colleague they can talk to, which makes it difficult for them to have a conducive working environment. 

One of the impacts of underrepresentation is that aspiring nurses might decide not to pursue the profession. 

3. Lack of Career Progression

Black nurses face a lot of hindrances in advancing their careers. Firstly, the high cost of tuition fees means that some cannot access the training needed. Secondly, they might not get equal opportunities during the admission process. 

Thirdly, there’s little to no information for black nurses to help them formulate a career path. This means that they don’t get to know the options and opportunities they have. 

Also, as they lack black advice in school and the industry, they’re highly redirected to other fields against their will or not given sufficient information to conclude. 

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4. Undervalued

Black nurses experience insensitivity among their colleagues and from leaders. Their thoughts and opinions aren’t considered, and thus, they have to do what’s been agreed upon. Additionally, black nurses aren’t involved in discussions. Instead, they get ordered around even when they’ve proven to be competent.

5. Unfair Remuneration

Black nurses receive smaller wages than their white counterparts. According to this article by Open Democracy, a black nurse receives 0.92 pounds for every 1 pound a white nurse earns. As such, black nurses struggle to make ends meet and have to do other jobs to earn enough usually.

6. Unfair Application of Rules

Black nurses are reprimanded more harshly for mistakes than their white counterparts. The latter is more likely to be offered more corrective training and handled with empathy.

On the contrary, a black nurse is more likely to be met with more supervision and handled in a way that undermines them. This leaves them feeling upset and constantly worried about their job security. Consequently, they have to put in longer hours to prove their capabilities. 

7. Victimization

Black nurses aren’t able to speak out about the abuse they face or the ill treatments they receive at work for fear of victimization. As a result, they continuously work in negative work environments, which only leads to anxiety and distress.

Additionally, the inability to call out these practices means the workplace doesn’t change; hence if they can’t keep up anymore, they have no option but to leave.

Most of these challenges have been shared through writing. Here is such a book you can get on Amazon.

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