Is Racial Discrimination a Major Problem for IENs? - Argumentative Essay

Published: 2023-02-28
Is Racial Discrimination a Major Problem for IENs? - Argumentative Essay
Essay type:  Argumentative essays
Categories:  Racism Discrimination Nursing care
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1464 words
13 min read

Shortage of nurses remains to be an issue in the global spectrum. Particularly in United States internationally educated nurses have played a critical role in assessing the nursing gap due to augmenting global recruitment (Babenko-Mould & Elliott, 2015). However, Racial discrimination against internationally educated nurses (IENs) remains a contentious subject in North America. IENs categorize the form of discrimination as an extra workplace stressor, and the one that affects both physical, and mental health of the nurses. It further dents the quality of patient care (Babenko-Mould & Elliott, 2015).

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Regardless of having consistent numbers of IENs venturing the Canadian nursing workforce, many IENs continue to face personal challenge and racial discrimination as they strive to settle in their new clinical settings (Higginbottom, 2011). Overcoming language barriers and cultural differences have been seen as the main challenges that create feelings of isolation for them as they integrate into the workplace (Higginbottom, 2011). Racial discrimination emanates when they face structural barriers such as marginalization, racism, and discrimination due to their cultural background.

Internationally educated nurse students endure several challenges such as alleged elementary differences in the scope of practice, and communication barriers. Despite these recognized challenges being there, it is also important to note that there is insufficient system to back IENs venturing the workforce in Ontario (Higginbottom, 2011). Despite highlighting some of the challenges IENs face such as marginalization, most opposers recommend the designing, and assessment of interventions to ease the transition of IENs into the workplace. They further suggest investigation into the perspectives of IENs on nursing care, and the role of nurses to help them settle in their new clinical settings.

Discrimination in the nursing profession normally happens via segregation of the minority group (IENs) at global stages by a dominant group (Aboriginals) to maximize their own privileges (Walani, 2015). Since most IENs are immigrants they are often subjected to workplace discrimination which leads to 'underutilization', and reduction of IEN skills. There are two lawful cases connected to IENs in the US which further underlines the requirement for workers to be aware of any discriminatory workplace practices. The first one is Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) which agreed on a $2 million defrayal in a wage discrimination law suit filed by 65 Filipino RNs (Walani, 2015). They claimed that they were assigned lower paying jobs, and less position than that of a RN, and they were generally treated differently from other US workers.

In another case determined in 2006, twenty-five Filipino RNs resigned from their posts at a nursing health care in New York claiming they were poorly paid and did not get similar health covers and employees reimbursement paybacks as other RNs (Walani, 2015). Several nursing organizations have taken steps to enhance ethical practices in hiring and treatment of IENs. This debate has brought to attention the World Health Organization who have developed an international code of practice on global staffing of health workers. The code accentuates the essence of fostering transparency and fairness in global recruitment of health personnel and advices the developed countries to assist in fostering sustainability within health systems (Walani, 2015).

Most proponents argue that IENs should be recruited, promoted, and reimbursed equally based on their levels of qualification, years of experience, and the extent of professional obligation. Most researchers blame the patients for the level of discrimination that IENs receive, especially when they refuse to get treatment from a nurse due to their race (Njie-Mokonya, 2014). They state that discrimination from a health organization occurs on few occasions such as assigning APRNs to lesser tasks that are not stipulated among the four nursing roles (Njie-Mokonya, 2014).

IENs endure a lot of problems as they try to fit in their new clinical settings. One of the problems is cultural influences and role expectations. They normally migrate from other nations which have different cultural settings that affects their nursing roles. Matiti and Taylor (2005) advocate the manner IENs think about their own cultural effects and the host nations together impact their incorporation into their new clinical settings. They state that to oppose the idea that IENs are only affected by racial discrimination as they try to conduct their roles in new practice settings (Babenko-Mould & Elliott, 2015). Discrepancy in nursing practice ad role expectations propose a lack of detailed support plans that are important for cultural deliberations and to assist IENs adopt to Canadian nursing standards (Njie-Mokonya, 2014). Opposers have further cited differences in role expectations and scope of practice from host nations as a major problem that IENs face rather than racial discrimination (Njie-Mokonya, 2014).

In contrast the proposers of this topic state that a convivial and comprehensive work environment can help both IENs and patients from different backgrounds work harmoniously to enhance the patient outcomes. It means that when there is no discrimination which normally causes physical and mental stressors (Njie-Mokonya, 2014). IENs will be able to function effectively and productively. Health work environments are mostly likely to enhance the transition of IEC into new practice settings. Matti and Taylor (2005) proposed that prime and lesser cultural norms which both impact nursing activities can be taught in nursing programs. An understanding of these cultural alterations can tell how provision program for IENs are developed to ensure an effective integration of IEN into new nurse locations.

The specific types of marginalization that IENs endure include lack of proper integration programs to address the attitudes of other workers especially Americans to foreign workers in the nursing profession. Turrittin et al., (2002) observed the challenge that nine immigrant nurses faced while trying to settle in the new work environments in Canada by applying an explanatory qualitative method centered on Essed's work of 1991. In the study, immigrant nurses felt like they are being assigned lower nursing roles that do not relate to the major specializations they studied in their parent nations (Njie-Mokonya, 2014). Another instance of marginalization involved black nurses who were paid considerably less than other American workers due to their race and color. IENs also seem to face discrimination in connection to their career growth (Njie-Mokonya, 2014). In comparison to the American counterparts, Immigrant nurses face more restrictions and challenges in getting time to further their education (Njie-Mokonya, 2014). They felt their supervisors dispirited their quests to grow their tutoring and career especially if they are involved in non-work-related duties like caring for multiple kids

In order to help IENs transition smoothly into their new clinical settings there should be clear, and elaborate communication between managers, and the hiring agencies to duck breach of contract and enhance clear construal of the credentialing procedures (Higginbottom, 2011). Pre-arrival orientation of IENs including proper health care communications should be executed, and backed by the hiring organization. Moreover, employers should offer more structured and detailed workplace alignment to IENs with constant preceptorship (Higginbottom, 2011). Several researchers have also indicated that diversity should be appreciated, and implemented into the professional ethos by nurse executives.

In conclusion, it is evident that racial discrimination and inequality are the main challenges that IENs endure while they try to settle in the new practice settings. Other reasons such as cultural influences, role expectations in the new clinical settings, and Overcoming language barriers are making the debate more contentious on whether racial discrimination is the main challenge for IENs in the nursing profession. Most opposers argue that racial discrimination is not the main challenge for IENs in the nursing, rather cultural influences and overcoming language barriers. On the other hand, supporters of the debate argue that forms of discrimination such as marginalization, and negative attitudes of American nurses towards immigrant nurses as the main challenge. However, my stance is racial discrimination such as marginalization, cultural influences are the main challenges that IENs face in new practice settings.


Babenko-Mould, Y., & Elliott, J. (2015). Internationally educated nursing students' experiences of integration in the hospital setting. Journal of Nursing Education and Practice, 5(9), 100-108. Retrieved from:

Higginbottom, G. M. (2011). The transitioning experiences of internationally-educated nurses into a Canadian health care system: A focused ethnography. BMC nursing, 10(1), 14. Retrieved from:

Matiti, M.R., & Taylor, D. (2005). The cultural lived experience of internationally recruited nurses: A phenomenological study. Diversity in Health and Social Care, 2(1), 7-15.

Njie-Mokonya, N. (2014). Exploring the integration experiences of internationally educated nurses (IENs) within the Canadian health care system (Doctoral dissertation, Universite d'Ottawa/University of Ottawa). Retrieved from:

Turrittin, J., Hagey, R., Guruge, S., Collins, E., & Mitchell, M. (2002). The experiences of professional nurses who have migrated to Canada: Cosmopolitan citizenship or democratic racism? International Journal of Nursing Studies, 39(6), 655-667.

Walani, S. R. (2015). Global migration of internationally educated nurses: Experiences of employment discrimination. International Journal of Africa Nursing Sciences, 3, 65-70. Retrieved from: file:///C:/Users/User/Downloads/Global_Migration_of_Internationally_Educated_Nurse.pdf

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