When a Patient Refuses a Nurse Assignment

Gary Sanin Camelo, MPA, LMSW, BS, BSN, RN, NE-BC; Fidelindo Lim, DNP, CCRN


Am Nurs Journal. 2021;16(8) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Develop a plan to address the refusal and support staff.

Focus and attention on the current sociopolitical climate in our communities have led to a renewed reflection on healthcare's inextricable link with the larger society. Although prioritizing patients' needs remains the core value of healthcare, awareness of healthcare workers' experiences with prejudice perpetrated by patients continues to increase. Media reports with titles such as "When the patient is racist" and "Hospital sued for letting patient refuse care from Black nurses" reflect public discourse.

For too long nursing has turned a blind eye to micro- and macro-aggressions committed by patients. The sociopolitical upheaval brought on by COVID-19 and an increased consciousness of health inequities have prompted the need for nuanced discussion of the prejudice healthcare workers experience.