Article Education| Volume 64, ISSUE 6, P583-596, November 2016

Download started.


Does race still matter in nursing? The narratives of African-American nursing faculty members



      The rise in undergraduate enrollment of African-American students has not translated into more African-American faculty members, although they could mentor minority students and promote an ethos that encourages their academic success. Discrimination against African-American faculty members continues, which could lessen their presence.


      This study explored the narratives of 23 African-American faculty members to determine if race still matters in nursing.


      A narrative approach grounded in social constructionism and critical race theory was used to illustrate the journey of African-American faculty into and throughout academia and to reveal factors related to decisions to enter and remain in academia.


      Most of the participants stated that they faced racial discrimination that tested their resilience and reinforced their commitment to the academy.


      Intentional actions and open discourse could strengthen institutional commitments to racial diversity and facilitate the recruitment and retention of racially diverse nursing faculties.


      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Nursing Outlook
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


      1. Altbach P.G. Lomote K. The racial crisis in American higher education. State University of New York Press, Albany, NY1991
        • American Association of Colleges of Nursing
        Nursing faculty: A spotlight on diversity.
        2015 (Retrieved from)
        • American Association of Colleges of Nursing
        Enhancing diversity in the workforce.
        2014 (Retrieved from)
        • Beard K.V.
        • Volcy K.
        Increasing minority representation in nursing: A more diverse faculty is crucial.
        American Journal of Nursing. 2013; 113: 11
        • Bell D.
        Confronting authority; reflections of an ardent professor.
        Beacon Press, Boston1994
        • Binder M.
        Remembering the past, celebrating the present, and imagining the future: The storytelling project at Lord Dufferin Public School.
        in: Miller J.P. Karsten S. Denton D. Orr D. Kates I.C. Holistic learning and spirituality in education. State University of New York Press, New York2005: 137-144
        • Boutte G.S.
        • Jackson T.O.
        Advice to white allies: Insights from faculty of color.
        Race Ethnicity and Education. 2014; 17: 623-642
        • Braun V.
        • Clarke V.
        Using thematic analysis in psychology.
        Qualitative Research in Psychology. 2006; 3: 77-101
        • Byrd W.M.
        • Clayton L.A.
        An American Health Dilemma. Volume 1. A Medical History of African Americans and the Problem of Race: Beginnings to 1900.
        Routledge, New York, NY2000
        • Clandinin D.J.
        Narrative inquiry: A methodology for studying lived experience.
        Research Studies in Music Education. 2006; 27: 44-54
        • Dancy T.E.
        • Jean-Marie G.
        Faculty of color in higher education: Exploring the intersections of identity, impostorship, and internalized racism.
        Mentoring & Tutoring: Partnership in Learning. 2014; 22: 354-372
        • Delgado R.
        • Stefancic J.
        Critical race theory: An introduction.
        New York University Press, New York, NY2001
        • Edwards N.N.
        • Beverly M.
        • Alexander-Snow M.
        Troubling success: Interviews with black female faculty.
        Florida Journal of Educational Administration and Policy. 2011; 5: 14
        • Evans J.D.
        Factors influencing recruitment and retention of nurse educators reported by current nurse faculty.
        Journal of Professional Nursing. 2013; 29: 11-20
        • Ford C.L.
        • Airhihenbuwa C.O.
        Critical race theory, race equity, and public health: Toward antiracism praxis.
        American Journal of Public Health. 2010; 100: 30-35
        • Gall M.D.
        • Gall J.P.
        • Borg W.R.
        Educational research: An Introduction.
        7th ed. Allyn and Bacon, Boston2003
        • Godsil R.D.
        • Goodale B.
        Telling our own story: The role of narrative in racial healing.
        2013 (Retrieved from)
        • Greene D.M.
        • Stewart F.
        Conceptualizing the blackground: Framing attempts and acts of re-marginalization.
        Journal of African American Studies. 2015; 19: 362-376
        • Guevara J.P.
        • Adanga E.
        • Avakame E.
        • Carthon M.B.
        Minority faculty development programs and underrepresented minority faculty representation at US medical schools.
        JAMA. 2013; 310: 2297-2304
        • Harvey W.B.
        • Anderson E.L.
        Minorities in higher education: twenty-first annual status report.
        American Council on Higher Education, Washington, D.C2005
        • Hassouneh D.
        Unconscious racist bias: Barrier to a diverse nursing faculty.
        Journal of Nursing Education. 2013; 52: 183-184
        • Hassouneh D.
        • Akeroyd J.
        • Lutz K.F.
        • Beckett A.K.
        Exclusion and control: Patterns aimed at limiting the influence of faculty of color.
        Journal of Nursing Education. 2012; 51: 314-325
        • Hassouneh D.
        • Lutz K.F.
        Having influence: Faculty of color having influence in schools of nursing.
        Nursing Outlook. 2013; 61: 153-163
        • Henry A.
        ‘We especially welcome applications from members of visible minority groups’: Reflections on race, gender and life at three universities.
        Race Ethnicity and Education. 2015; 18: 589-610
        • Hine D.C.
        Black women in white: Racial conflict and cooperation in the nursing profession 1890-1950.
        Indiana University Press, Bloomington1989
        • Hunter S.V.
        Analyzing and representing narrative data: The long and winding road.
        Current Narratives. 2009; 1: 44-54
        • Institute of Medicine
        The future of nursing: Leading change, advancing health.
        2011 (Retrieved from)
        • Institute of Medicine
        In the nations compelling interest: Ensuring diversity in the health-care workforce.
        2004 (Retrieved from)
        • Iverson S.V.
        Camouflaging power and privilege: A critical race analysis of university diversity policies.
        Educational Administration Quarterly. 2007; 43: 586-611
        • James N.
        • Busher H.
        Credibility, authenticity and voice: Dilemmas in online interviewing.
        Qualitative Research. 2006; 6: 403-420
        • Jones B.
        • Hwang E.
        • Bustamante R.M.
        African American female professors' strategies for successful attainment of tenure and promotion at predominately white institutions: It can happen.
        Education, Citizenship and Social Justice. 2015; 10: 133-151
        • Loftus S.
        • Higgs J.
        Researching the individual in workplace research.
        Journal of Education & Work. 2010; 23: 377-388
        • Maynes M.J.
        • Pierce J.L.
        • Laslett B.
        Telling stories, the use of personal narratives in the social sciences and history.
        Cornell University Press, Ithaca2008
        • Meho L.I.
        E-mail interviewing in qualitative research: A methodological discussion.
        Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. 2006; 57: 1284-1295
        • Mkandawire-Valhmu L.
        • Kako P.M.
        • Stevens P.E.
        Mentoring women faculty of color in nursing academia: Creating an environment that supports scholarly growth and retention.
        Nursing Outlook. 2010; 58: 135-141
        • National Advisory Council on Nursing Education and Practice
        Achieving health equity through nursing workforce diversity.
        2013 (Retrieved from)
        • National Advisory Council on Nursing Education and Practice
        The impact of the nursing faculty shortage on nurse education and practice.
        2010 (Retrieved from)
      2. National Center for Education Statistics, Characteristics of postsecondary faculty, 2016, Retrieved from

        • National League for Nursing
        Executive summary: Findings from the 2009 faculty census.
        2010 (Retrieved from)
        • National League for Nursing
        Diversity toolkit.
        2009 (Retrieved from)
        • Orelus P.W.
        The institutional cost of being a professor of color: Unveiling micro-aggression, racial invisibility, and racial profiling through the lens of critical race theory.
        Current Issues in Education. 2013; 16 (Retrieved from)
        • Owen I.R.
        Social constructionism and the theory, practice and research of psychotherapy: A phenomenological psychology manifesto.
        Boletin de Psicologia. 1995; 46: 161-186
        • Phillips J.M.
        • Malone B.
        Increasing racial/ethnic diversity in nursing to reduce health disparities and achieve health equity.
        Public Health Reports. 2014; 2: 45
        • Scheurich J.J.
        • Young M.D.
        Coloring epistemologies: Are our research epistemologies racially biased?.
        Educational Researcher. 1997; 26: 4-16
        • Sherman D.K.
        • Hartson K.A.
        • Binning K.R.
        • Purdie-Vaughns V.
        • Garcia J.
        • Taborsky-Barba S.
        • Cohen G.L.
        Deflecting the trajectory and changing the narrative: How self-affirmation affects academic performance and motivation under identity threat.
        Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 2013; 104: 591-618
        • Stanley C.A.
        Coloring the academic landscape: Faculty of color breaking the silence in predominantly white colleges and university.
        American Educational Research Journal. 2006; 43: 701-736
        • Sullivan Commission
        Missing persons: Minorities in the health profession.
        2004 (Retrieved from)
        • Taylor E.
        A primer on critical race theory: Who are the critical race theorists and what are they saying?.
        The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. 1998; 19: 122-124
        • Tobin G.A.
        • Begley C.M.
        Methodological rigour within a qualitative framework.
        Journal of Advanced Nursing. 2004; 48: 388-396
        • Torres-Harding S.
        • Turner T.
        Assessing racial microaggression distress in a diverse sample.
        Evaluation & the Health Professional. 2015; 38: 464-490
        • Tuitt F.
        • Hanna M.
        • Martinez L.
        • Salazar M.C.
        • Griffin R.
        Teaching in the line of fire: Faculty of color in the academy.
        Thought & Action, The NEA Higher Education Journal. 2009; 16: 65-74
        • Turner C.S.V.
        • Gonzalez J.C.
        • Wood J.L.
        Faculty of color in academe: What 20 years of literature tells us.
        Journal of Diversity in Higher Education. 2008; 1: 139-168
        • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
        HHS action plan to reduce racial and ethnic disparities: A nation free of disparities in health and health care.
        2011 (Retrieved from)
        • Vereen L.G.
        • Hill N.R.
        African American faculty and student-oriented challenges: Transforming the student culture in higher education from multiple perspectives.
        Journal of Thought. 2008; 43: 83-100
        • Zajac L.
        Double-loop approach: Recruitment and retention for minority nursing faculty.
        ABNF Journal. 2011; 22: 73-77
        • Zambrana R.E.
        • Ray R.
        • Espino M.M.
        • Castro C.
        • Cohen B.D.
        • Eliason J.
        “Don't leave us behind”: The importance of mentoring for underrepresented minority faculty.
        American Educational Research Journal. 2015; 52: 40-72