Implicit Bias in Health Care

Updated January 5, 2022

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Implicit Bias in Health Care essay

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Many nurses and health care works at times aren’t aware of there unconscious discrimination behaviors, which can have a negative impact on health care it self. Implicit bias is exactly that, unconscious discrimination towards religion, race, identity, disability, and ethnicity. Many times we mean no harm When unconsciously discriminating against individuals, but it’s still important we learn to recognize this negative behavior in order to correct it. In some cases we may need to overcome our own individual biases to be able to provide the best care to our ability.

The Nursing code of ethics states “ The nurse practices with compassion and respect for the inherent dignity, worth, and unique attribute of every person“(123). In the article Addressing Implicit bias in nursing review (123) describes healthcare disparities, the populations that are affected by implicit bias, and how implicit bias contributes to disparities. It also list strategies for nurses to become aware and how to overcome the many biases implemented towards their patients.

“ In the late 1800s, Sigmund Fred popularized The idea that the unconscious mind—that is, The attitudes and feelings of which we are unaware can have a powerful influence on our behavior”(123). This unconscious behavior is what leads to the disparity in healthcare. Healthcare disparity simply means those who are different from the majority populations tend to have less success in their health. That is because Nurses who have bias do not do proper assessments and spend less time with their patients. A research study conducted by the Institute of medicine concluded that minorities receive improper, Low quality, and unexceptional services when obtaining medical treatment.

Minorities aren’t the only ones that receive poor health care many other factors such as substance abuse, sexual orientation, and even obesity can cause individuals to have bias against them. The healthcare research and quality agency has conducted a disparity report every year and have determined that unequal health against those Other than white, Remains to be frequent and widespread. How ever, many healthcare organizations like The joint commission are trying to set national standards in improving the equality of healthcare for all despite your background.

Does implicit bias mean you are racist, hold hatred, or think you are more superior? The answer to that is no, being judge mental is part of human nature. In fact many of these biases, thoughts, or beliefs are learned as we grow to adult hood. As we get older and face certain situations, these learned behaviors become automatic and subconscious. “ Implicit bias is theorized to be rooted in heuristics—that is, mental shortcuts to help us sum up and respond to situations quickly”(123).

It’s the way heuristics play a key role in our everyday life situations that cause us to also create negative behaviors towards others. The negative behaviors that are generated jeopardize the health care of those in need. A good example of heuristic behavior is stereotyping. Stereotyping can be a type of behavior that is learned as a child or through other poor resources And can quickly cause implicit bias.

The quality of healthcare we give each and every individual should be equal, therefore managing Implicit bias is crucial to nursing practice. Some of the recommendations developed by social scientist are “Counterstereotyping imaging, emotional regulation, Habit replacement, increasing opportunities for contact, mindfulness, partnership building, perspective taking, and stereotype replacement” (123). These strategies are all also approved and recommended by the joint commission. Nurses utilizing these tools in their practice can potentially decrease healthcare disparities.

But how do we apply these strategies to our every day practice? First we need to be able to recognize our actions, feelings, and the outcomes in patient care. Elisha Goldstein has developed the acronym S.T.O.P. To help nurses recognize their actions and behaviors. S.T.O.P stands for “stop what your doing, take some slow deep breaths, observe your thoughts, feelings and assumptions, and proceed with patient care”(123). By taking these steps is another way to recognize and correct individual biases. They’re also online resources which offer test to help you recognize specific biases.

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Implicit Bias in Health Care. (2022, Jan 05). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/implicit-bias-in-health-care/


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