Nurses in Kentucky have been informed that they may be subject to disciplinary actions if they do not complete an implicit bias training mandated by the Kentucky Board of Nursing. The training focuses on acknowledging the historical presence of racism in healthcare. The instruction aims to help healthcare workers recognize the past instances of racism within the healthcare system. According to a report by The Washington Examiner, the training, which was required to be completed by July 1, involves discussions that highlight the view that denying the existence of “institutional racism” or suggesting that individuals can progress solely through hard work is a racist perspective.
The mandated implicit bias training for nurses in Kentucky, conducted by the Kentucky Nurses Association Board of Directors, has raised concerns among many nurses. The training emphasizes that in order to bring about meaningful change, discussions of implicit bias must be situated within a broader conversation about racism and bias.
During the training, nurses were taught about various examples of “covert racism,” including concepts such as “white silence,” denying the existence of institutional racism, using phrases like “there’s only one human race,” promoting the “bootstrap theory,” implementing Eurocentric school curricula, “weaponizing whiteness,” “fetishizing POC” (People of Color), claiming “reverse racism,” excusing or “white-splaining” racism, and denying the existence of white privilege.
Numerous nurses expressed frustration with the training and objected to its content. Some were worried about potential disciplinary actions if they chose not to complete the training. The board of nursing stated that “implicit bias” training is required for nurses by a committee of the Kentucky General Assembly, and failure to comply could lead to civil sanctions or disciplinary measures.
Many nurses found the training offensive as it seemed to imply that they were all inherently racist and needed to change their behaviors to provide better care. Some long-time nursing veterans, like Rebecca Wall, felt disheartened, as they faced the possibility of being penalized after dedicating their entire careers to the profession.
Laura Morgan, a program manager at Do No Harm, an organization dedicated to safeguarding healthcare from what they consider a radical, divisive, and discriminatory ideology, expressed concerns about certain woke concepts entering the healthcare system at the state level. She noted that some of these ideas seem to be trickling down from the national American Nurses Association (ANA).
According to Morgan, the ANA began shifting to the Left under the leadership of former President Ernest Grant, particularly after the riots that occurred following the death of George Floyd. She observed that the ANA made a significant ideological change and referred to a statement on “racial reckoning” from the ANA, which apparently highlights the perceived historical harm nurses have caused to their patients.
Morgan’s perspective reflects the concerns of her organization, Do No Harm, regarding what they see as potential ideological influences within the nursing profession and the broader healthcare system.