“I’ve been called the n-word in some of my situations taking care of patients. I remember being called that. I mean, that hurt me to the core.”
Amie Burks, a 55-year-old nurse providing care to hospice patients in Martinsburg, West Virginia, says she’s been mistreated by white patients a number of times over her career.
One situation in particular left her emotionally distressed.
After being called the n-word, she “left out of that patient’s room and went into the bathroom.”
“I cried, but I buckled up and I had to go back out there to do my job because that’s what we’re called to do,” she says.
Unfortunately, encounters with racism are not uncommon for Black nurses. Burks and a third-generation nurse who persevered against racial mistreatment, are among the many Black nurses who report experiencing acts of racism.
According to a survey released by the National Commission to Address Racism in Nursing, in which over 5,600 nurses participated, 92% of Black nurses reported experiencing racism on the job.
In a field where Black people make up only 10% of all registered nurses, racism in nursing doesn’t just come from patients.
Black nurses say 70% of racist acts come from leaders, 66% from peers, and 68% from patients.