Study: Racism, Other Forms of Bias a Threat to Safe Patient Care

March 14, 2023 JEN journal of emergency nursing

March Journal of Emergency Nursing explores the effects of implicit and explicit bias 

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (March 14, 2023) – Many people, including nurses, carry some bias, whether it is recognized by the individual or not. One study in the March issue of the Journal of Emergency Nursing sought to explore that more in-depth.

Through the study, “The Experiences of United States Emergency Nurses Related to Witnessed and Experienced Bias,” researchers sought to obtain a broad view of the knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and lived experiences of ED nurses and their associated implicit and explicit biases.

“This study is critical because not responding to bias harms patients and colleagues,” said ENA Director of Emergency Nursing Research and primary investigator Lisa Wolf, PhD, RN, CEN, FAEN, FAAN. “No one goes into nursing to harm people; we all want to help. By doing this study we wanted to help nurses recognize their biases, then learn how to interpret and respond to them.”

Among the 1,140 survey participants and 23 focus group participants, significant differences existed between white and non-white participants in their experiences of institutional, structural and personal microaggressions. Another area where differences were noticed among different groups was empathetic awareness. Those who identified as Christians, on average ranked lower for empathic awareness while those who identified as non-heterosexual scored higher.

“This study has filled a gap in the research within emergency nursing yet is foundational to our practice. With this information, we hope that nurses, as well institutions, will reflect on their biases and educate themselves to better serve themselves, their patients and their colleagues,” said JEN Editor-in-Chief Anna Valdez, PhD, RN, who also contributed to this study.

Also covered in the March issue is research on determining clinical judgment among emergency nurses during a complex situation, comic-based concussion discharge instructions and the long tail of COVID-19.

The Journal of Emergency Nursing, ENA’s peer-reviewed academic journal, is published six times a year with original research and updates from the emergency nursing specialty, while also covering practice and professional issues.

The March issue can be found online here

The Emergency Nurses Association is the premier professional nursing association dedicated to defining the future of emergency nursing through advocacy, education, research, innovation, and leadership. Founded in 1970, ENA has proven to be an indispensable resource to the global emergency nursing community. With 50,000 members worldwide, ENA advocates for patient safety, develops industry-leading practice standards and guidelines and guides emergency health care public policy. ENA members have expertise in triage, patient care, disaster preparedness, and all aspects of emergency care. Additional information is available at

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Dan Campana

Director of Communications