Tackling racism and discrimination in nursing in Canada

Villeneuve, Michael J | $440,612

British Columbia University of Victoria 2022 CIHR Operating Grant

Systemic racism and discrimination adversely affect health on multiple individual, interpersonal, societal, and community levels. In healthcare, these problems are exacerbated by the inequities of access and quality care that still plague our health systems. The long-term impact is a loss of trust in health systems that results in reduced utilization of services, and, ultimately, to poorer health outcomes for Black, Indigenous Peoples and people of color. In addition, the lack of race- and ethnicity-based data has been a significant barrier to fully understanding disparities in care, health outcomes, and our healthcare workforce. Nurses represent the largest group of health care professionals in Canada and are both susceptible to and victim of unconscious racial bias and inappropriate beliefs that can affect interactions with patients, communities and even fellow co-workers. Systemic action is needed to de-colonize the nursing profession and ensure the profession can continue to provide safe, compassionate and ethical care. Understanding the ways racism and discrimination impact the nursing workforce, and thus the population, is long overdue and this grant would build a foundation of knowledge to directly confront racism within and across nursing. First, a rapid review synthesizing the history and available literature on racism in Canadian nursing would be used to develop a foundational report. Second, a quantitative survey would be used to describe the current representation and related demographics of the Canadian nursing workforce. Third, a qualitative methodology will be used to collect and report on the lived experiences of nurses of diverse backgrounds and identify barriers and enablers to diversity and inclusion. A landmark document summarizing the key findings and lessons from the three main reports and suggesting key next steps would be completed, followed by the development of strategies to redress the disparities and inequities.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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