Those in leadership roles in the medical field, such as nurse administrators, can combat discrimination and disparities within the healthcare system. Racism in the healthcare industry has a profound effect on people of color when they’re unable to access healthcare services or when they experience discrimination stemming from patterns, practices and procedures within the medical field. Unfortunately, many deep-rooted practices and policies in the healthcare system perpetuate inequalities and put people of color at a disadvantage.
To eradicate these biases, leaders must recognize and address them. Examining and discussing how healthcare organizations operate and treat patients of color it is one way to address behavior that perpetuates racial bias. The online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Administration from The University of Texas at Arlington builds on a foundation of practical experience to teach students the advanced skills and knowledge needed to thrive in management and leadership roles in a changing healthcare environment. Students pursuing the nurse administrator role learn how to facilitate top-down change and tackle discrimination while promoting health equity.
How Nurse Administrators Can Work Towards Equity
Discrimination in nursing can occur when nurses make treatment decisions based on racial, cultural or gender stereotypes, resulting in inaccurate diagnoses, inadequate pain management and substandard health outcomes. Discrimination exists in patient care when patients reject nurses because of skin color, gender or age. Here are a few ways nurse administrators can address discrimination in the workplace and work towards equity:
- Promote health equity. Promoting health equity involves addressing discrimination, bias and racism within the healthcare system. Nurse administrators can hold their staff accountable and provide training to recognize and eliminate prejudice. By identifying the history of racism in the healthcare system, nurses can address and eliminate systems of oppression.
- Foster diversity. Recruiting and hiring nurses from diverse backgrounds and arranging professional development activities that address discrimination and racism can break down barriers and biases in nursing. Nurses and nurse leaders from various backgrounds and ethnicities can help their staff understand the needs of various populations and also reassure patients when they see nurses and leaders that look like them.
- Treat patients with respect regardless of demographics. Inequities in healthcare typically result from biases based on demographics such as ethnicity, socioeconomic status and race. These negatively impact a patient’s treatment outcome. By ensuring equal treatment for all patients, a nurse administrator can establish that discrimination has no place in healthcare.
- Promote policies of mutual respect. Nurse administrators should support and promote policies that champion civility, inclusiveness and mutual respect. They should be vocal in recognizing that the absence of such policies can result in healthcare practices that are inequitable, low-quality or ineffective.
Pursuing a Master of Science in Nursing Administration
With classes like Nursing Leadership and Complex Healthcare Systems and Nursing and Healthcare Policy, this degree program from The University of Texas at Arlington can help prepare you to navigate management roles in healthcare. The online course content uses technology-enhanced classes and a blended learning model. For real-world experiences, faculty will coach, guide and mentor students through practicums. The MSN in Nursing Administration online program provides multiple start dates, which is ideal for working students.