I'm sitting in the plenary session of the 2rd Biennial Innovations in Faith-Based Nursing Conference at Indiana Wesleyan University listening to Josepha Campinha-Bacote speak about cultural competence. Dr. Campinha-Bacote believes humility is a key virtue that helps bring about cultural competence. She speaks of humility from a biblical perspective, a tough humility that's hard to follow on a daily basis; a humility that is secure in what God has made me and doesn't need to promote myself. A humility that seeks the good of others over myself.
Dr. Josie, as she calls herself, brought the problem of racism in healthcare into sharp focus for us. Racism leads to inequalities and disparity in care, and she used examples of research with people of color and ethinic diversity. There was a rapid and dramatic response from the audience. People stood up and started talking about how they had experienced or witnessed racism because of race and ethnicity (Black, Hispanic, Asian, Middle Eastern), age (elderly), gender, weight (obese), and sexual identify and preferences. The list went on.
It seems racism is indeed a formidable problem in healthcare and nursing. How great it is that our God holds the answer, that he loves us wholeheartedly and unconditionally despite our myriad problems. Christian nurses can help stem the flood of racism by examining scriptures like Proverbs 11, 15, Zephaniah 2:3, Philippians 2, and Colossians 3, asking God how they apply to us personally and to our care. Humility is at the heart of turning racism around as we cry out to God for his help.
Have you observed or experienced racism in nursing and healthcare? Tell others about how God is leading you to bring about change.