Respecting Diversity in the Workplace and Beyond

By Camille Asamoah, MSN, RN-BC

It is inevitable that you will encounter and engage with coworkers, patients and patient family members who are different from yourself every single day. These differences can include race, culture, gender, age, religion, beliefs, etc.
It is important to stop and take a self-reflecting look at your own beliefs, thoughts and biases to fully understand how these differences play into how you interact with the world around you. There are biases that are consciously and unconsciously instilled in us all on a subconscious level from a variety of factors such as our upbringing, and exposure to your own family’s belief system. “Implicit (subconscious) bias refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions and decisions in an unconscious manner.” (Staats et al., 2014) 
Perhaps a patient is admitted to your unit who is of a different culture or background than your own. Maybe there are certain stereotypical thoughts that pop into your head before you have even spoken one word to them. This can truly affect how you interact with the patient - and their family - and treat them for their entire stay. Taking a moment to clear your thoughts can do wonders for how you engage with that family and patient. ICARE Values are always expected no matter the situation. As UAAs, you are the face of your unit and the welcoming ambassador that helps to give the visitor a wonderful first impression. Treating everyone fairly and equally during their time with you is a great rule to continue to live by. Thank you for all that you do!
Staats, C., Capatosto, K., Wright, R., & Jackson, V. (2014). State of the Science: Implicit Bias Review 2014. Kirwan Institute.
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