Engaging with Racism: An Opportunity to Advance Nursing Practice

By Josephine Etowa, Salma Debs-Ivall and Deborah Conners.

Published by The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published Online: June 16, 2015 $US5.00

: This paper will present findings related to discrimination and racism from a study that examined White nurses’ perceptions of increasing diversity in Canadian nursing using grounded theory approach under the tenets of participatory Action Research.
Methodology: This was a qualitative study using a grounded theory approach informed by the tenets of participatory action research. Twenty-one registered nurses who self-identified as White/Caucasian and who represented all levels of health care within five health facilities in a region of Canada were interviewed. The sample recruitment was facilitated by theoretical sampling. Data analysis was done using a constant comparison process. Atlas-ti facilitated data management and storage.
Results: The nurses affirmed the presence of racism and discrimination within the Canadian nursing profession and the larger health care system and the need for change. However, recognizing racism and discrimination in issues of competency and standard-setting can challenge the cultural beliefs of nurses about the superior quality of Canada’s nursing professionals and the ‘equal opportunities’ available to all who meet Canadian standards.
Conclusions and Implications: The successful integration of diverse nurses into the nursing profession will ultimately require change on the part of the nursing profession as a whole as well as individual Caucasian Canadian nurses and diverse nurses to address difference in positive ways. Increasing diversity among Canadian nurses changes Canadian nursing. We all need to adapt to this evolving reality.

Keywords: Racism, Discrimination, Nursing

The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society, Volume 5, Issue 2, June 2015, pp.45-54. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published Online: June 16, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 467.885KB)).

Prof. Josephine Etowa

Associate Professor, School of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada

Salma Debs-Ivall

Manager, Models of Professional Practice, Nursing Adminstration, The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, ON, Canada

Deborah Conners

Research Associate, School of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada