JAN. 23, 2022
Personal Biases in Healthcare
Unconscious or implicit bias is a term that refers to connections or attitudes that cause us to automatically modify our views, consequently altering our behavior, interactions, and decisions (Hagiwara et al.2019). According to the Institute of Medicine, bias, stereotyping, and prejudice may play a significant part in the persistence of healthcare inequalities, and that one way to address these concerns is to recruit more medical professionals from underrepresented populations (such as women). The way information about a person is processed may be influenced unknowingly by bias, resulting in unexpected discrepancies that have significant effects in nursing school admissions, faculty hiring and promotion, and career development possibilities. Health inequalities exist between LGBT and heterosexual populations when comparing physical and mental health results between the two groups (Maina et al. 2018). Disparities in health care are exacerbated by the stigma and prejudice projected by nursing professionals against the LGBTQ community, which contributes significantly to their persistence. In addition, interventions on how to lessen this prejudice that have their origins in race/ethnicity or gender bias research may be extended to bias against women, gay, and other marginalized groups in nursing.
I’ve had a tendency to identify negative valence in general, as well as specific sensations such as dread and mistrust, with African-Americans and other minorities. A concept like this is automatically triggered and implemented the majority of the time when I am busy, preoccupied, weary, or under pressure. Cognitive work to analyze and process a person’s unique qualities seems to be more than the effort necessary to classify a person into one of many groups with similar characteristics in a short period of time. When I am attempting to create true working connections with patients and provide fair health care, rapid thinking or classification may come in the way of my efforts. As an example, while doing a diagnostic scrutiny on a Black American teenager, I may instinctively assume that they are sexually lively rather than asking dynamic queries regarding their sexual behavior and attentively listening to their replies.
The explicit notions held by some of my White health-care professionals about their Black American patients are troubling. They believe that Black Americans are less intellectual, less able to stick to treatment routines, and more prone to participate in dangerous health activities than their White foils. Latino patients are also perceived as less inclined to take accountability for their own maintenance and as more likely to be noncompliant with diagnosis recommendations than other groups of patients. But even if explicit views about people of color are changed, implicit prejudice among workers against people of color is likely to persist and affect treatment in ways that contribute to the perpetuation of disparity and unfairness in health care. As a result, even if my stated beliefs reflect a desire to offer equitable treatment, I may unwittingly engage with patients of color less successfully than I do with White patients, which may underwrite to health inequalities in the population.
Cases such as the ones involving my patients highlight the negative connotations that we may call racism; yet, the vast majority of nurses are not blatantly racist and are ardent to treating all patients with equal respect. They do, however, work inside a scheme that is fundamentally racist. As previously said, we are cognizant that our own implicit bias, might have an impact on the way we treat our patients. The bottom line is that there are so many layers to this problem that it’s difficult to get our brains around it. Even so, we will give it our best. As a culture, we have come to acknowledge that racism and prejudice are profoundly rooted in our country’s political, social, and economic systems. Minorities are disproportionately affected by these disparities, which result in uneven access to decent education, nutritious food, fair salaries, and affordable housing. Following a series of widely publicized incidents, and the Black Lives Matter movement, there came increasingly strident demands to confront persistent, or structural, racism as well as implicit prejudice in society.
Hagiwara, N., Lafata, J. E., Mezuk, B., Vrana, S. R., & Fetters, M. D. (2019). Detecting implicit racial bias in provider communication behaviors to reduce disparities in healthcare: challenges, solutions, and future directions for provider communication training. Patient education and counseling, 102(9), 1738-1743.
Maina, I. W., Belton, T. D., Ginzberg, S., Singh, A., & Johnson, T. J. (2018). A decade of studying implicit racial/ethnic bias in healthcare providers using the implicit association test. Social Science & Medicine, 199, 219-229.

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