The impact of Whiteness on the education of nurses

Susan M. Bonini, Cheryl E. Matias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Racism affects the nursing profession by routinely producing an over representation of Whites. Since the Sullivan Commission on Diversity in the Healthcare Workforce (Sullivan, 2004) reported that people of Color (POC) found it difficult to gain admission into health professions schools, regulatory agencies have made recommendations to the nursing profession to create program strategies to increase diversity. Many strategies were implemented to recruit, educate, retain, and graduate POC from university-based nursing programs, but these have had little effect on diversity in nursing. Simply put, these strategies were only band-aids attempting to heal a much larger issue within the profession precisely because programs do not address the underlying problem: the pervasiveness of whiteness. Whiteness has been normalized and influential in the manifestation of racism in nursing practice. The pervasiveness of whiteness has resulted in nursing education being seen through a White lens (Scammell & Olumide, 2011). This paper explores whiteness and its effect on the profession of nursing and nursing education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)620-625
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Professional Nursing
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Inc.


  • Education
  • Health equity
  • Nursing
  • Racism
  • Whiteness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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