Racism in health care is a substantial problem that affects the lives of many individuals. Racist language, verbal and physical abuse are common in the living area of a hospital. Patients are denied access to services, medications and dignity. Racism in healthcare affects every aspect of patient care from the first trip until release.
The first step to fighting racism in health care is to address the problems which impact the everyday experience of patients. Racism in healthcare begins with a mindset change in the team that are seen as having an effect on how patients are treated. According to a report published by the National Association of Hispanic Health Professionals (NASHP), health care employees inadvertently perpetuate racism using gestures, words and behaviors that aim and harm the racial and cultural groups in their own care. Nurses and other professionals should learn to work with all people rather than focusing on a demographic.
It is likewise important for healthcare workers to be aware that they are not immune from these types of prejudices. According to a report released by the American Medical Association, racism in healthcare 75 percent of physicians feel that they treat all patients with the same disrespect. Additionally, according to the American Psychological Association, prejudice against patients of a certain race is equally as common as prejudice against another race. Research has shown that healthcare workers often fail to set higher standards of care based on race or ethnicity. Healthcare providers are legally obligated to maintain decent working conditions for all individuals, regardless of their race or ethnicity.
Racism in healthcare has a much bigger effect on patients than the actual treatment they receive. Many patients are subjected to humiliating or degrading treatment, that makes it impossible for them to keep any sense of control over their own body or their lifetime. Racism in health care also effects patients psychologically, preventing them from feeling valued or safe within the health care environment. Physicians and other professionals that see this racism fail to provide a relaxing atmosphere for patients and also don’t make them feel as though they are part of a system that values their health and well-being above all else.
Healthcare workers are generally required to function in trying, potentially dangerous surroundings. Due to their environment, these individuals may experience greater rates of anxiety, anxiety, and burnout. This can have adverse psychological effects on patients, which makes it hard for them to form bonds and join with fellow employees, causing problems with how they respond to stress-related illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
The impacts of racism in health care are particularly upsetting because racism can go unnoticed or unexpressed by the individual’s family and other caregivers. Often times, individuals in healthcare will be the first people to encounter individuals that are experiencing different hardships. According to the Emory University School of Nursing, healthcare employees are compelled to help these people overcome the trauma brought about by their illnesses, but they may do this without understanding about cultural norms and biases that result in poor treatment choices and inadequate care. By changing and addressing healthcare employee’s behaviors and attitudes toward patients of all races, cultures, and backgrounds, health care workers can make sure that everybody gets the care that they need and deserve.