Nursing Textbooks Recalled And Apology Issued For Racial Stereotypes Related To Pain Management


Pearson, an educational publishing company, issued an apology on Thursday in regards to culturally insensitive material published in their textbook Nursing: A Concept-Based Approach to Learning. The section in question was titled ‘Focus on Diversity and Culture: Cultural Differences in Response to Pain’ and contained theories on how to treat patients from different racial and religious backgrounds in regard to their ability and willingness to tolerate pain,

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The segment catagorized patients, or ‘clients’ as they are referred to in the textbook, into six groups; ‘Arabs/Muslims’,’Asians’, ‘Blacks’, ‘Jews’, ‘Hispanics’, and ‘Native Americans.’ If the categories weren’t cringe-worthy enough, it then gave the reader tips on how a “client’s culture influences their response to and beliefs about pain.” Or, in other words, racial stereotypes. Among the shameless theories included in the piece were that ‘Blacks’ will “often report higher pain intensity than other cultures” and that ‘Jews’ can be “more vocal and demanding of assistance,” not a particularly scientific approach when the patient’s feedback is the only way of evaluating and treating their suffering. Furthermore, if there were any truth to these allegations, which there is not, the textbook’s approach would still be flawed, as many patients would fit into multiple categories, such as people from predominately Muslim countries in Asia.

The material came to light after a Facebook user by the name of Onyx Moore posted a photo of the page in question and outrage ensued:

CN: Racism across the boardThis is an excellent example of how not to be even remotely culturally sensitive. These…

Posted by Onyx Moore on Monday, October 16, 2017

In response to the attention and overall negative feedback Ms. Moore’s Facebook post received,  Scott Overland, Pearson’s communications director issued the following statement on Thursday:

“While differences in cultural attitudes towards pain are an important topic in medical programs, we presented this information in an inappropriate manner. We apologize for the offense this has caused and we have removed the material in question from current versions of the book, electronic versions of the book and future editions of this text. In addition, we now are actively reviewing all of our nursing curriculum products to identify and remove any remaining instances of this inappropriate content that might appear in other titles. We will continue to provide updates on our progress. This material does not reflect our values as a company and how we want to serve students. We always welcome feedback and we appreciate the concern shown by the students who raised this issue.”

The company also stated that they will recall all books with this particular segment printed in them, but as to how the material was published to begin with, Mr. Overland was less than certain. “We are working with our editorial teams as we speak to determine that,” he added.


Featured image via Facebook

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