I am a nurse… But I am black first.

I am watching the protests around this country and realizing just how little people knew about the racism that black people still experience. I have sat in my department and listened to people complain about the protests without understanding what it is we are protesting.

We want justice and equality as a people!

I quickly realized that while I will always be a nurse, which I have always seen as my identity, I am black first.

My mind goes back to all those times I’ve had patients hand me their trash because they thought I was EVS, even though I wear the same ciel blue as all their previous nurses. I go back to the times where my patient assumed I was the tech and my white tech was the nurse, and looked almost dismayed when my tech corrected them. I go back to being called “n*gger” multiple times by patients who saw no issue with using the word and fully meant it as an insult. I go back to being the only black nurse on a shift and not being included in conversations.

I realize that I am a nurse but I have always been black first.

I am proud to be black.

I am proud to be a nurse.

Both of those things are a part of me, they are intertwined.

Instead of being angry at comments based on ignorance of what is really happening, I have started educating my coworkers. I am speaking on the black experience in this country. I now speak up about what police mean to black individuals. I speak on our experiences. I talk to my coworkers about racism at its core.

I don’t want to be the “angry black woman”, I want to be the black woman that educates on the black perspective.

I am a black nurse, I carry black experiences, I will not carry them quietly.

13 thoughts on “I am a nurse… But I am black first.

  1. I am so sorry for your experiences and deeply appreciate that you are speaking up about what you are is happening to you daily. I didn’t realize, until just recently, how ignorant I was to the deep undercurrent of racism that is running rampant in our country. Unfortunately, because it wasn’t happening to me, I walked around oblivious to it. That is why I hope you and others who are experiencing this unbelievably abhorrent behavior will continue to speak up. I promise that I am listening and educating myself. A lot of us are. I will kneel with you, stand with you, whatever it is I can do to best support BLM and any other minorities who are treated as less than.

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      1. I have thought about your response all of yesterday and into today. The funny thing is, I was really nervous to say the “wrong thing” when I was typing that. I even read back what I typed to my husband to make sure I didn’t come across as a typical entitled white woman.
        I was brought to tears myself that you were so moved by what I said.
        I feel like there are people like me who don’t know what to do and how to do it but we really want to help with our whole hearts.
        So thank you for your response. It helps me be a little braver next time.
        Sending you so much love and gratitude.

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      2. Be brave. Say how you truly feel. Your response was wonderful because I could feel how genuine it was through the words. You care and I felt that as well. I know it’s hard to speak up because you’re worrying about “saying the wrong thing”. I would rather you say the wrong thing than nothing at all. You give me hope knowing non-black people are finally listening with open ears but also open hearts. That’s what is needed. You’re doing the right thing!

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      3. Thank you for that. I am thinking about writing a blog post about my hesitation if you are ok with that? It is helpful for me to process and I think maybe there are other people who can connect with how I feel.

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  2. B. Taylor

    Excellent blog twin. I had seen this initially, but reading it, I always see you as black first & foremost, but I also know Fred offline. That being said, I know that this is a heavy experience, because we both know about having to properly put on our business approach. Continue educating & sharing gems with others, because knows what your shoes feel like without speaking up about it. I am gonna work harder on that with my colleagues, because it will help them get out of their box.

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  3. i’m saddened to hear about all the hateful things patients have said to you or all the ways coworkers have excluded you or talked negatively about the protests. its saddening and maddening all at once. the way that you can channel all the hurt and anger from your experiences and turn it into a learning opportunity.. is so incredible and inspiring. please keep doing what you’re doing, both in taking care of your patients as an awesome nurse, and educating both patients and staff about your experiences as an awesome Black nurse. oh and for sharing them here on your blog too. =)

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