Barriers to career advancement in the nursing profession: Perceptions of Black nurses in the United States

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Abstract

Background: There is a paucity of Black and minority ethnic group nurse leaders and faculty in the nursing profession, even though the overall number of nurses within this demographic has increased. This study aimed to examine Black nurses' perceptions of the barriers to career advancement in nursing profession in the United States. Procedure: Participants included 30 Black nurses aged 25 to 65 from health care settings across five US states recruited through purposive sampling. The study used a focused ethnographic design with semi-structured interviews to elicit responses about participants perceptions and experiences of seeking leadership and faculty positions. Results: Thematic analysis revealed seven main themes: maintaining white comfort, distrust, no one like me, paving the way, worthy of representation, leadership role not expected of Black nurses, and an advanced degree does not equal advanced opportunities. Conclusion: The findings suggest that Black nurses face significant challenges in entering leadership or faculty positions. They face racial discrimination and lack access to mentorship and support which discourages sufficiently qualified and experienced nurses from applying for high-level positions. Ensuring all nurses are afforded equal opportunity for career advancement is essential for the nursing profession's continued growth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)664-677
Number of pages14
JournalNursing Forum
Volume55
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020

Keywords

  • Black nurses
  • career advancement
  • leadership positions
  • racial barriers

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