In the face of restricted budgets and staff shortages, U.S. hospitals are frequently turning to internationally educated nurses, who often face discrimination in their new country. However, little research compares the discrimination against internationally educated nurses (IENs) with their U.S. trained peers. A new study in the Journal of Advanced Nursing finds that discrimination against nurses isn’t limited to IENs, but is pervasive across race, seniority and location.
42 internationally educated and 40 U.S. educated nurses from two urban hospitals in the southeastern U.S. were interviewed about their experiences. Although internationally educated nurses experienced more explicit discrimination, all nurses experienced abuse from their patients, colleagues, supervisors and hospital staff.
Both sets of nurses shared similar coping strategies ranging from reliance on personal values to help them ignore it, confronting the behavior, changing shifts or even leaving their position; thereby making discrimination a key issue for nurse retention.