COVID and racism cause nurses of color to face “dual pandemic”

March 24, 2022

In a phenomenon that researchers are calling a “dual pandemic” because of the severity of the impact of coupled factors, a Rutgers School of Nursing research study has found that nonwhite nurses are suffering disproportionately from emotional distress, induced by a toxic stew of fears engendered by COVID-19 and reactions to workplace racism.

The work, published in Behavioral Medicine, is one of the first of its kind to quantify such effects and points to a critical need to address the issues of frontline health workers as the pandemic continues.

“We found that variations in nurses’ emotional distress were determined, in part, by direct and complex interactions among COVID worry, race and workplace racism experiences,” said the study’s lead author Charlotte Thomas-Hawkins (PhD, RN, FAAN), associate dean of nursing science and associate professor.