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Black Perspectives #18: Courtney Pauley (RN – Labor & Delivery)

The Big Questions

SSD: There are two big questions that I’m asking every interview subject to answer.

First: What does it mean to you to “Be Black” in 2022?

CP: It means STILL defending why having a Black medical team is important for Black patients. It means that despite studies saying Black patients usually fare better with Black providers, there are still too few Black providers from which to choose–especially in the obstetrics field.

Systemic racism is alive and well in healthcare…

Courtney Pauley

SSD: Can you spell it out for those who may not know (including myself — I’m only loosely familiar) —

Why is having a Black medical team important for Black Patients based on your experience?

CP: For Black patients, the importance of Black providers can be the difference between life or death; between injury or not. Research has shown that many White providers and nurses believe that Black folks feel pain less than White people; that just ends up with the Black patients having poor pain control; suffering.

Systemic racism is alive and well in healthcare…from flat-out racists to non-Blacks having biases they aren’t aware of that harm their Black patients. Not only that, but Black folks know first-hand about the problems that plague our people; so, a Black provider can relate to and communicate better with a Black patient (most of the time). And when you relate to your patient, their compliance with their plan of care is much easier.

Black providers simply are better at giving Black patients the care they need, more often than it is given by White providers.

SSD: Ok, moving on to Numero Dos: As a Black Person in America, what’s one thing that you wish other people knew about your daily experiences?

CP: I imagine my job as a Black nurse shares some similarity to that of a Black cop: you want to be a good worker for everyone, and especially for your people. You are up against, yet also a part of a system that has racism intricately woven into the double helix of its DNA.

Courtney in all black everything.

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