Re: Turning the gaze: racialized nurses’ insights into their nursing education in Canada




Monteiro, Andréa

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In Canada, nursing education and practice are enacted in the context of a white settler nation-state. As part of their mandates, nursing schools uphold concepts such as multiculturalism, equity, and diversity; however, studies in North America reflect that the reality contradicts these directives and suggest that nursing schools are hegemonic white spaces. This study challenges this white hegemony through the gaze of racialized nurses. Through in-depth interviews, ten self-identified racialized nurses shared narratives looking back at their experiences in nursing school, and their accounts indicate how they faced the complexities of learning within environments where systemic racism is enacted. Using a women of colour feminist approach, this study asked the following question: What are the experiences of racialized nurses in nursing education programs in Canada? Intersectional analysis was used to examine and address the multiplicity of experiences that emerged from the interviews. Racialized nurses’ narratives reveal complex experiences with the following prevailing themes: Othering, the white gaze, navigating white spaces, accent as marker, always proving myself, and racism impacting health. Beyond racism, participants’ experiences were also affected by the intersection with other markers of difference while in nursing school, such as gender, religion, class, and age. Participants identified that they were seen through a white gaze while in nursing school and engaged with this study as an opportunity to challenge and resist the systemic structures of racism they encountered. The findings point to the reality that nursing schools are permeated by systemic structures of white privilege and racism, due to a legacy of colonialism and imperialism, and those structures have a severe impact on racialized students. Furthermore, this study indicates the need for critical evaluations of nursing schools, and to challenge the enactment and maintenance of racist practices of exclusion and marginalization of racialized students.



Women of Colour Feminism, Whiteness in Nursing, Experiences of Racism