American Nurses Association Issues Apology For History Of Racism

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The American Nurses Association (ANA) has issued an apology for the organization's history of racism against Black nurses.

Last week, the ANA released a racial reckoning statement to acknowledge its past actions and apologize to nurses of color.

“Our intention with this statement is to publicly identify and acknowledge our past actions while addressing the harms that continue today,” the racial reckoning statement reads in part, per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The statement cites how racism still persists in the nursing working force. In 2021, of 5,600 nurses surveyed, 63 percent reported that they experienced racism on the job from coworkers and managers/supervisors.

“The section on ANA Reckoning is not meant to be a complete listing of all ANA actions that have caused harm. Historical exclusions of and transgressions against Black nurses will be discussed in this document,” the ANA statement continues.

According to the statement, from 1916 to 1964, ANA “purposefully and systematically excluded Black nurses.”

The organization also acknowledged the harm in supporting the 1965 position paper that advocated for nurses to hold at least a bachelor's degree when "many nurses of color" didn't have access to such programs.

Many of the ANA policies created barriers for nurses of color trying to advance their careers, the statement says.

The racial reckoning statement concludes by asking for forgiveness and calling for the healing of nurses of color.

“For it is forgiveness that we seek — forgiveness from nurses of color, the nursing profession, and the communities that have been harmed by our actions,” the statement reads.

“We fervently hope that this statement, its subsequent work, and the efforts of the Commission will contribute to healing — individual healing for nurses, reconciliation with the ethnic-minority nurse associations, and healing of the profession.”

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