Kentucky Board of Nursing requires nurses to take an “implicit bias” course on racism in healthcare, risking discipline for non-compliance.
Nurses Must Participate in an “Implicit Bias” Course
The Kentucky Board of Nursing has recently implemented a new requirement for nurses to participate in an “implicit bias” course aimed at recognizing the historical impact of racism in healthcare.
The Board advised nurses that failure to complete the mandatory training by July 1st could result in disciplinary action.
The Training Aims to Address Implicit Bias
The training, developed by the Kentucky Nurses Association (KNA), aims to tackle implicit bias in healthcare. It strongly emphasizes the necessity of engaging in a broader conversation about racism and bias.
Nurses Are Concerned
Some nurses expressed concerns about the course content and its implications. Notably, the training included a slide showing a picture of the Ku Klux Klan, which was challenging for some participants, like Rebecca Wall, a certified registered nurse anesthetist with 40 years of experience.
She Was Feeling Conflicted Afterwards
Despite her reservations, Wall eventually completed the training, feeling conflicted about the assumption that all nurses are racist.
Distress Over the Risk of Not Taking Course
Potential disciplinary measures have caused distress among nurses like Laura Morgan, a nurse with 39 years of experience and a program manager at the Do No Harm medical advocacy group.
You Might Be Unable to Renew Your License
She points out that non-renewal of licenses could be one of the consequences for those who don’t comply with the training requirement.
Overt vs Covert Racism
The training also introduced the concepts of “overt racism” and “covert racism,” offering examples of each.
The course outlines various aspects of covert racism, such as “white silence,” denial of institutional racism, and other attitudes or actions that perpetuate racial biases.
A Shift in Ideology
The American Nurses Association (ANA), the parent organization of KNA, experienced a shift in ideology following the 2020 Black Lives Matter riots and the presidential terms of Ernest Grant from 2018 to 2022.
The Reason It Was Added
This change led to the inclusion of “implicit bias” training and redefining terminology within the nursing community.
This Makes It Harder to Provide Care
Nurses argue that the changes imposed by the ANA have made it harder for them to provide individualized care to patients.
Academic Nurses Are Making the Rules
They believe that the perspectives of academic nurses, who may not have recent hands-on experience in healthcare settings, dominate the decision-making process.
One Nurse Addresses Her Concerns
Rebecca Wall attempted to address her concerns through a letter to the ANA president but has not yet received a response.
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