Mitigating Implicit Bias and Optimizing Healthcare Outcomes
Featured currently in ANS is the article titled “The State of the Science of Nurses’ Implicit Bias: A Call to Go Beyond the Face of the Other and Revisit the Ethics of Belonging and Power” by Holly Wei, PhD, RN, CPN, NEA-BC, FAAN; Zula Price, PhD, FNP-BC, RN, CNE®cl, CD(DONA); Kara Evans, MSN, RN, NPD-BC, NEA-BC; Amanda Haberstroh, PhD, MLIS, AHIP; Vicki Hines-Martin, PhD, PMHCNS, RN, FAAN; Candace C. Harrington, PhD, DNP, MSN, APRN, AGPCNP-BC, CNE, FAAN. Note that Nursing Professional Development Credits are available for this article!. The article is available to download at no cost while it is featured!
Dr. Holly Wei, Professor, Associate Dean at East Tennessee State University College of Nursing, provided this background information about the work reported here:
The current focus on health equity and racial health disparities has brought implicit bias to the forefront of healthcare delivery. As the interests in health inequity and disparity grow, we want to examine the current research on nurses’ attitudes and behaviors. The broad and pervasive impacts of implicit bias have been examined across social and cultural institutions and systems, including healthcare, education, and housing. Because nurses spend the most time with patients, they play a significant role in patients’ and families’ healthcare experiences and outcomes.
This paper presents the current state of the science of nurses’ implicit bias and the primary sources of nurses’ implicit bias – race/ethnicity, sexuality, health conditions, age, mental health status, and substance use disorders. Nurses’ implicit bias is analyzed and described using Levinas’ face of the Other and ethics of belonging, Watson’s human caring and unitary caring science, and Chinn’s peace and power theory. This paper invites nurses to go beyond ‘the face of the Other’ and revisit the ethics of belonging and power. We hope these theories can provide a guideline and call for nurses to work together with organizational leadership and other healthcare disciplines and stakeholders to mitigate implicit bias and optimize healthcare outcomes.1,2
- Wei H. The development of an evidence-informed Convergent Care Theory: Working together to achieve optimal health outcomes. International journal of nursing sciences. 2022;9:11-25. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijnss.2021.12.009
- Wei H, Horton-Deutsch S, Sigma Theta Tau International. Visionary Leadership in Healthcare: Excellence in Practice, Policy, and Ethics. Indianapolis, IN: Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing; 2022.
- Wei H, Price Z, Evans K, Haberstroh A, Hines-Martin V, Harrington CC. The State of the Science of Nurses’ Implicit Bias: A Call to Go Beyond the Face of the Other and Revisit the Ethics of Belonging and Power. Advances in nursing science. 2023. 10.1097/ANS.0000000000000470
Thank you for tackling this important issue. Implicit bias is a pervasive problem in healthcare that can lead to disparities in care. Nurses can use these strategies to recognize and mitigate any biases they may have so that all patients receive respectful and equitable care—regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identification, socioeconomic status, disabilities, stigmatized diagnoses, or any characteristic that distinguishes them from societal norms.