Making the invisible visible: Implementing an implicit bias activity in nursing education
journal contributionposted on 08.06.2019 by Elizabeth Gatewood, Cindy Broholm, Jenna Herman, Charles Yingling
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Background: Implicit bias (IB) is a pervasive phenomenon that negatively impacts health outcomes. IB is unconscious bias that operates at a level in which the individual is not aware of its existence. There is no requirement to include IB content in nursing education. Purpose: We sought to raise awareness of IB and its influence on health outcomes and support a discussion on ways to mitigate the impact of IB. Methods: Through preparatory and interactive activities, students became familiar with IB and its effects on health outcomes, completed a selfassessment using the Implicit Association Test, and engaged in a faculty-facilitated discussion. This activity was implemented at four institutions in the United States and included 110 students at the BSN, MSN and DNP levels. Results: The activity received positive evaluations. A majority of students reported the preparatory learning activities were helpful, increased awareness of their biases and felt recognition of their IB would be helpful in managing their nursing care. Student narratives are also described in this report. Conclusions: Inclusion of IB content in nursing education is acceptable to students and faculty. The content is best included at multiple points in the course of study.