African American women's coping with health care prejudice

Ramona Benkert, Rosalind M Peters
Western Journal of Nursing Research 2005, 27 (7): 863-89; discussion 890-5
African American clients have reported racism and prejudice in health care; yet there is limited documentation of the strategies used to cope with these experiences. This study describes African American women's perceptions of prejudice in health care and the strategies used to cope with the experiences. This qualitative study used the constructivist perspective of interpretive interactionism for paradigmatic and methodological guidance. Participants were 20 women ranging from age 26 to 74 years with 50% having a high school education. Individual interviews consisting of five areas were conducted with three instruments measuring ethnic identity, socioeconomic status, and general demographics. The analyses provide two themes: experience with the "White health care system" and strategies for coping with the prejudice, which included getting angry, learning to unlearn, being assertive, and walking away. Consistent with the discussions of race in the United States, racism in health care has become a subtle entity that infuses health care relationships.

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