News Release

Dismantling structural racism in nursing

Peer-Reviewed Publication

University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing

Penn Nursing Dean Antonia Villarruel

image: Antonia M. Villarruel, PhD, RN, FAAN, Professor and Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Penn Nursing) view more 

Credit: Penn Nursing

PHILADELPHIA (September 9, 2020) - Confronting the uncomfortable reality of systemic racism - the system that creates and maintains racial inequality in every facet of life for people of color - is having a national heyday. But calling out this injustice and doing something about it are two different things.

Throughout its history, nursing has been on the forefront of advocacy addressing public policies, institutional practices, and other norms that perpetuate racial group inequities. Yet structural racism still remains in the teaching, research, scholarship, and practice of nursing.

In an editorial for the journal Nursing Outlook, two nurse leaders propose a framework to guide thinking and action to effectively address racial inequities and injustices throughout nursing.

"There remain too many examples of structural racism throughout nursing and we must be open to continuing to examine, identify, and change these within our own profession," writes Antonia M. Villarruel, PhD, RN, FAAN, Professor and Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Penn Nursing). Villarruel wrote the editorial titled "Beyond the naming: institutional racism in nursing," along with Marion E. Broome, PhD, RN, FAAN, Dean of the School of Nursing at Duke University.

The framework the authors outline identifies ways that nurses can lead in their organizations and change policies, practices, and traditions that disadvantage and diminish people of color in schools of nursing, nursing professional organizations, and health systems. The authors challenge nurses to use the framework to dismantle structural racism in practice.

"If it is to be different, it is time to act. Actions, if inclusive and well thought out, can be the medium to bring people together to make a real difference--especially the younger students and faculty who we so often 'protect' from that work," the authors add.


About the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing

The University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing is one of the world's leading schools of nursing. For the fifth year in a row, it is ranked the #1 nursing school in the world by QS University and is consistently ranked highly in the U.S. News & World Report annual list of best graduate schools. Penn Nursing is currently ranked # 1 in funding from the National Institutes of Health, among other schools of nursing, for the third consecutive year. Penn Nursing prepares nurse scientists and nurse leaders to meet the health needs of a global society through innovation in research, education, and practice. Follow Penn Nursing on: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, & Instagram

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