The Boston Globe, September 2023
The tattoos on the patient’s body included “KKK” and “all of the things you would associate with being a white supremacist,” according to his assigned nurse, a Black man. The patient was a man with severe burns who said, “‘I don’t want any [racial slur] taking care of me.’” The nurse, Ernest Grant, recalls thinking, I can’t believe this is happening.
This was roughly 20 years ago, before Grant would become a national leader in the profession as the first male president of the American Nurses Association. Yet, Grant says he would not be surprised if it happened today.
It does. In a nationwide survey of nearly 1,000 nurses conducted in April and May by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and NORC at the University of Chicago, 8 of 10 nurses said they have experienced “a high prevalence of racism and discrimination” from patients. In a 2017 survey of over 800 doctors co-led by health care website STAT, more than 20 percent said a patient had requested a different clinician based on race.