Hello everyone! Welocme back to another post where I share what REALLY happened during nursing school! This post will be a brief discussion on racist classmates. Yep…
**Disclaimer: All names have been changed in order to protect others. Details have also been generalized to protect patient identity and prevent HIPAA violations.
Alright so this happened to me during my second semester out of four of the nursing program. The nursing school I went to was in a city about thrity minutes from my home city, but is known for more blantant prejudice. You can expect this in more rural areas, which is where my school was. My actual nursing class consisted of less than ten minority students. Us of the darker skin tone often felt pressure to really know our stuff as some of our fairer classmates made blatant attempts to humiliate us in clinical. We never had this issue from instructors who treated everyone equal were very supportive (for the most part).
Anyway the day this story happens, was our first day of clinical and spent with a partner. I was not thrilled to be completing partner work, but it was only for a day. So we arrive to clinical, recieve our partner assignments and go to meet our patients. We go in to introduce ourselves and my partner completely takes over and says “Hi my name is Jane and I WILL BE YOUR STUDENT”.
I was standing right beside my partner in front of the patient and their primary caregiver so I made sure to keep my face straight. Inside I was pretty confused though. Things only got worst. My partner continued to talk and said “This is Anna. She will be THE HELP”.
I was so taken aback. Mind you this classmate hangs with our more questionable classmates as far as racial bias so I wasn’t too suprised. Needless to say she should be more mindful of what she says to patients and their family members. Turns out the patient’s caregiver used to be an instructor at out nursing school and well… She lit into her. “Excuse me this is your classmate; she is your equal. I used to teach at XXX School of Nursing!”…
The family member turned to me and said “Now, what is your name?” I proceeded to introduce myself and asked a couple of questions about the patient because the patient had an intellectual disability. My partner was very antsy with me, but I thought these few questions were important to the patient’s care (and they turned out to be).
Later on in the shift, the patient began having anxiety about an upcoming procedure to the point of tears and picking at the skin and IV site. I ended up making sure the patient could have their favorite Ensure flavor and bought them one. I also took time to sit with the patient and chat about the show they were watching and their favorite foods.
This worked out well because at that time in our clinical journey we only had one patient. Mind you after the assessment, Jane never stepped into the room once even when seeing the patient’s anxiety. Luckily, the patient’s anxiety was able to decrease and by the time we were wraping the clinical day up, another close family member had come in to sit with the patient.
What’s the point of sharing this story? As a nurse, especially as a minority nurse you may work with people who treat you poorly. There is no point of meeting aggression with aggression. Come in, do your job and go home.
Thanks for reading,