Chapter 4: Anti-Racism and Nursing Communication

Ain’t I a Nurse?

Well done! You are almost finished this educational experience. 

In the previous chapters, you learned about racism, anti-Black racism, and how we as nurses can transform our nursing profession to be anti-racist. In Chapter 2, we mentioned the term “anti-Black racism resistance.” Anti-Black racism is systemic within the nursing profession (RNAO, 2022) and the Canadian healthcare system (Public Health Agency of Canada, 2020), so anti-Black racism resistance is a positive way of dismantling racism. 

Look at Figure 1

This illustration in Figure 1 was designed by Dr. Nadia Prendergast and is called “Ain’t I a nurse.” It emerged from her reflections on a famous speech from more than 100 years ago, called “”. The image calls for all nurses to be treated with dignity and respect, and to treat those they care for the same. The sad reality is that the presence of anti-Black racism in the nursing profession acts like a chain to limit our full potential (see the tenets of anti-Black racism in Chapter 1). However, anti-Black racism resistance is good news: it acts like a vine to bring life. The vine can weave through the chains of anti-Black racism, growing and nurturing the core values of nursing, as depicted by each leaf.

Will you help actively dismantle the racism and anti-Black racism within the Canadian nursing profession?

Take action by choosing one of the core nursing values shown on the leaves. How can you promote an anti-racist environment? For example, choose one of the words on the leaves and create a symbol, meme or statement about the word and what it means to you. You can even take a picture or create a poem about the word. Why not be creative?

You could start by saying,

“I will actively be a part of dismantling racism in my nursing practice by _______. Here is my contribution ______.”

Thank you for being anti-racist and making nursing a caring and inclusive profession. Please share your ideas with your peers!

A nurse with a chain on her arms surrounded by a green vine. Detailed description in the text above.

Figure 1: Ain’t I a Nurse (Copyrighted and designed by Dr. Nadia Prendergast, 2022).


Public Health Agency of Canada. (2020). Social determinants and inequities in health for Black Canadians: A snapshot.

Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario. (2022). Black nurses task force report.

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