The theme of racism, which is increasingly emerging in the healthcare sector, is disastrous in terms of medical and nursing ethics and is fraught with severe patient outcomes. Therefore, this issue is relevant and discussed both at the local level, that is, in separate clinics and globally as the topic for disputes in various medical communities. Racism as a phenomenon in healthcare is unacceptable, and the prejudiced attitude of medical specialists to patients is the indicator of personnel’s incompetence and unpreparedness for essential work.
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The possibility of receiving medical care has always been considered the inalienable right of any citizen. Nevertheless, such a contentious concept as racism is an obstacle to qualified and full-fledged assistance. Today, the prejudices caused by racial beliefs and confidence in inequality are the causes of many people’s dissatisfaction with the quality of care. Despite the fact that the forms of manifestation of bias have changed over the past time due to the course of socialization promoted among the population, residual phenomena still exist. White et al. (2017) cite the notion of aversive racism, which differs from the overtone in that there is no apparent bias, but the attitude and quality of medical staff’s work in relation to the representatives of different races are worse than to other population groups. Non and Gravlee (2015) also consider the hidden forms of inequality manifestation and consider the concept of academic, or scientific racism in American medicine. According to the authors, it is reflected in premature conclusions about certain theories and beliefs that have insufficient justification (Non & Gravlee, 2015). All these facts allow talking about the relevance of the issue and the need to find ways to avoid it.
A Plan to Reduce Racism in Medicine
In order to exclude such a phenomenon as racism from the healthcare sector, it is necessary to take certain measures. A special action plan may be useful as a guide to medical staff. It can include the following items:
- Medical personnel should participate in specific courses and training devoted to the promotion of equality as one of the central social values. Psychologists and sociologists should explain to the staff the importance of the same approach to all patients without exception. The knowledge of doctors and nurses about the specifics of care for all population groups is to be checked.
- Senior management should control the activities of personnel in relation to patients of different races and prevent any manifestations of bias timely. The leaders of structural units are to take responsibility for monitoring the situation. Explanatory work should be carried out to describe the basic positions of the theory of equality.
- The population should be informed about the policy of openness of medical care and free access to services. In case people are aware of possible sanctions against unscrupulous medical personnel, they will have an opportunity to appeal against inappropriate behavior. All information may be disseminated through social advertising of the new policy.
- Volunteer help can be required for additional work with those employees who do not have an opportunity to attend special courses. The representatives of medical communities may conduct joint seminars, discuss the problem of racism, and suggest ways of fighting. Information on the recruitment of such groups can be disseminated by the management of clinics.
- Government participation is desirable. The members of the authorities may be involved in the joint struggle against racism and should support all stakeholders in the fight against this social remnant. Officials can also provide relevant sponsorship for the promotion of the program.
Such a phenomenon as racism in medicine is unacceptable since the prejudiced attitude of healthcare workers towards patients is contrary to the basics of their work. Regardless of the forms of inequality, appropriate measures should be taken with respect to this problem. A special action plan can help to improve the knowledge of both medical personnel and the public concerning the issue. The participation of different stakeholders is desirable because joint efforts contribute to a more effective fight against prejudices.
Non, A. L., & Gravlee, C. C. (2015). Biology and culture beyond the genome: Race, racism, and health. American Anthropologist, 117(4), 737-738. Web.
White, A. A., Logghe, H. J., Goodenough, D. A., Barnes, L. L., Hallward, A., Allen, I. M.,… Llerena-Quinn, R. (2017). Self-awareness and cultural identity as an effort to reduce bias in medicine. Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, 5(1), 34-49. Web.