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The African American Nurse: Discrimination Case From the Elderly Patients


This paper delves into the case of Lana, a young African American nurse that is experiencing discrimination from the elderly patients that she is taking care of in a retirement home in Mississippi. Due to the cultural background of the Mississippi, its elderly residents still have considerable racial prejudices directed against minorities. They equate Lana’s service as being inferior and make their opinions known when she is around. It is based on this that this paper will delve into the case and determine what strategy can be implemented to resolve Lana’s predicament.

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Lana is the only African American nurse that is working in a retirement home in Mississippi that has a predominantly white aging population of retirees. Daily, she experiences a considerable degree of difficulty in handling her white patients as compared to the other nurses due to the considerable level of derision, uncooperative behavior, and general discontent by the retirees that an African American would be skilled enough to be able to meet their complex needs. If you were her supervisor, what do you think can be done in this scenario to decrease the problems that Lana encounters with her patients?


While the current predominant population in most states (i.e. mid-20s to late 50s) is more accepting of different races, religions, and stereotypes, it is the aging population (i.e. late 60s to 80s) that are less accepting of racial and cultural diversity and continue to maintain their prejudices and discriminatory behavior against minority populations. From the work of Lott (2010), it can be seen that discrimination can exist in even the most multicultural societies if there is a societal notion which associates particular members of a race as being inferior in terms of capability and intelligence (Lott, 2010). In this case example, the reason behind the level of discrimination seen is connected to the fact that these individuals simply grew up in a period where the culture of minority discrimination was so prevalent that it became an ingrained behavioral predilection that continues to impact how they view different minorities today.

Key Problems and Issues

Doctors and nurses from different minorities that are in the patient care industry for individuals of advanced ages often experience a considerable level of difficulty in assisting their patients since the normal doctor-patient or nurse-patient dynamic of mutual trust and understanding is not present. Elderly patients who have discriminatory tendencies simply do not respect or trust doctors or nurses who are from a minority which makes the process of patient care that much more difficult to accomplish. In the case of Lana, it is evident that her patients simply look down on her for being African American. The retirement home itself cannot force the patients to respect her since the institute is there to serve and assist them. As such, it is apparent that the problem is not a service issue or of workplace discrimination, rather, it is an issue of service perception on the part of the retirees who view Lana as being distinctly inferior as compared to her counterparts who are white.

Insight into the Scenario

Cañas & Sondak (2011) who examined various cases of workplace discrimination in various cases explained that despite the various laws that have been put into effect to prevent formal workplace discrimination (i.e. lower salaries, fewer opportunities, and discriminatory hiring practices), informal practices continue to be prevalent (Cañas & Sondak, 2011). This can be seen in the case of Arizona where Latin Americans are categorically discriminated against based on their apparent association with illegal immigration as well as in various southern states in the U.S. such as Virginia, Georgia, and Mississippi where there is a prevalent culture of discrimination against African Americans by the predominantly white population. Such instances will not disappear overnight and, as such, one way that workers can attempt to resolve this is to implement a strategy of understanding and adjustment to incorporate themselves into the workflow to such an extent that they achieve a level of acknowledgment resulting in fewer cases of discrimination.

Based on my own experience, understanding between different races is usually brought out through work ethic, performance, and continued understanding in the face of discrimination. By proving one’s value through service despite the apparent discrimination, often results in a degree of respect resulting in fewer instances where racial slurs and racist comments are used. When it comes to any service industry, capability and the ability to perform and resolve issues is prized, as a result, people who show such talents, despite coming from a minority, are themselves prized by the people that they assist. Through my own experiences in workplace discrimination, I would have to say that it is necessary to take things in stride and simply adjust to the discrimination while at the same time proving your worth. The best way to overcome a similar situation as Lana is to simply show competence, understanding, and the desire to assist despite the problems that you are facing. The worst possible way of resolving such an issue would be to prove to the people that are discriminating against you that they are right by intentionally lowering your service standards due to their harassment.


It is based on this that when examining the situation of Lana, the best possible solution as a supervisor would be to simply guide her in adjusting to the discrimination and tell her that eventually, it will go away as her patients learn to acknowledge her abilities and experience in the future. By doing so, she will learn that to gain the respect she desires she must take things in stride.

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Reference List

Cañas, K.A. & Sondak, H. (Eds). (2011). Opportunities and challenges of workplace diversity: Theory, cases, and exercises. (2nd ed). New Jersey: Pearson.

Lott, B. (2010). Multiculturalism and diversity: A social psychological perspective. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, December 31). The African American Nurse: Discrimination Case From the Elderly Patients. Retrieved from


StudyCorgi. (2021, December 31). The African American Nurse: Discrimination Case From the Elderly Patients.

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"The African American Nurse: Discrimination Case From the Elderly Patients." StudyCorgi, 31 Dec. 2021,

1. StudyCorgi. "The African American Nurse: Discrimination Case From the Elderly Patients." December 31, 2021.


StudyCorgi. "The African American Nurse: Discrimination Case From the Elderly Patients." December 31, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "The African American Nurse: Discrimination Case From the Elderly Patients." December 31, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'The African American Nurse: Discrimination Case From the Elderly Patients'. 31 December.

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