NewsNearly Half Of Healthcare Workers Report Racism

Nearly Half Of Healthcare Workers Report Racism

Though the report’s focus is on the experience of patients, it also notes that racism in the workplace is a common experience of workers in the healthcare industry.

According to Henry Fernandez, the CEO of AARC and the report’s lead author, the report is a critical resource in addressing the discrimination prevalent in the health care system.

“The study shines a light on the discrimination and racism healthcare workers observe and the implications for negative health outcomes of patients in many communities,” Fernandez said. “Understanding this connection at a national level is critical to measuring and addressing discrimination in the healthcare system to mitigate harm to patients and produce better health outcomes overall.”

Though the report’s focus is on the experience of patients, it also notes that racism in the workplace is a common experience of workers in the healthcare industry. Some 58% of Black health care workers surveyed said that they experienced discrimination in their workplaces because of their race or ethnicity. They also expressed a fear that retaliation is a worry of theirs if they raise concerns about discrimination, despite feeling that their employers are making strides towards addressing racism in their workplaces.

Over two-thirds of health care workers believe that four key actions could help reduce discrimination at their jobs: making it easy to report situations involving racism or discrimination anonymously, actively listening to patients of color and health care workers of color, examining the treatment of non-English speaking patients, and training professional schools or healthcare staff to spot discrimination.

According to the report’s co-author and senior vice president for Advancing Health Equity at the Commonwealth Fund, and a medical doctor, Laurie C. Zephyrin, it is important to listen to those who are on the front lines if any action is going to be taken to address health care inequities. “If we are going to build truly equitable health care systems, we have to start by listening to voices of those on the front lines,” Zephyrin said. “Understanding what health care workers are experiencing, and what they want and need from their employers and colleagues to address discrimination, is critical to successful and sustainable change.”

The report also uncovered that facilities that had mostly Black or Latinx patients had more instances of racism than those who either had a majority white patient base, or no clear majority at all. ”

Healthcare workers also reported that they dealt with stress due to racial or ethnic discrimination in healthcare, and it is also more prevalent if the workers are in a facility that serves mostly Black or Latinx patients. According to the report, “Racism in healthcare impacts not only patients but also large numbers of health care workers. Just under half of healthcare workers, and majorities of Black, Latino, and AAPI health care workers, report that dealing with racial or ethnic discrimination in health care creates some or a lot of stress for them.”

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Source: Black Enterprise

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