Brimming with enthusiasm her first day on the job, the young African-American nurse walks into her very first patient’s room and introduces herself. The patient responds, “You can just get your black a** out of my room.”
Although this painful incident happened to Valda Boyd Ford, MPH, MS, RN, many years ago, new minority nursing graduates tell her that the same thing still happens to them today.

How should minority nurses handle patients who make racist remarks, or even refuse to be cared for by a nurse of color? Is it better to turn the other cheek or to stand up for yourself? Many minority nursing leaders who have “been there” suggest trying to ascertain the patient’s intent in making the remark. Did the patient make a direct and obvious derogatory comment? Or did he or she seem frustrated or confused and blurt out a culturally insensitive remark unaware of a more appropriate thing to say?

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