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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Words Matter: An Integrative Review of Institutionalized Racism in Nursing Literature

Whitney A Thurman, Karen E Johnson, Danica F Sumpter
ANS. Advances in Nursing Science 2019 March 7
30864983
In health care, as in society, racism operates on multiple levels and contributes greatly to health and social inequities experienced by black Americans. In addressing racism, however, health care has primarily focused on interpersonal racism rather than institutionalized forms of racism that are deeply entrenched and contribute to racial inequities in health. In order to meaningfully address health inequities, health care must extend its focus beyond the interpersonal level. The purpose of this integrative literature review is to identify how and to what extent peer-reviewed nursing literature and professional nursing organizations have explicitly addressed institutionalized racism. A systematic search of relevant nursing literature published since 2008 yielded 29 journal articles that focused on black Americans' experience of institutionalized racism in health and health care; the articles explicitly named racism as institutionalized, institutional, systemic, systematic, or structural. This review summarizes author-identified implications of institutionalized racism for nursing education, research, and practice, and offers suggestions for use by the nursing profession to dismantle racist policies, practices, and structures.

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