Practice Matters

Improving Health Equity: The Role of the Oncology Advanced Practitioner in Managing Implicit Bias

Kelley D. Mayden, MSN, FNP, AOCNP®, IAC

From Ballad Health Cancer Care, Bristol, Virginia

Author’s disclosure of conflicts of interest is found at the end of this article.

Correspondence to: Kelley D. Mayden, MSN, FNP, AOCNP®, IAC, 1 Medical Park Blvd., Ste. 102W, Bristol, TN 37620. E-mail: kdunrun@charter.net


J Adv Pract Oncol 2021;12(8):868–874 | https://doi.org/10.6004/jadpro.2021.12.8.7 | © 2021 Harborside™


  

ABSTRACT

Implicit bias (IB) is the involuntary activation of thoughts, feelings, attitudes, or stereotypes that exist outside of conscious awareness. Implicit bias develops early in life and research documents the existence of IB across health-care settings. Negative IB impacts patient-provider interactions, produces inferior patient outcomes, and contributes to health-care disparities. Oncology APs are subject to IB and should be aware of its potential impact on professional practice. This manuscript explores the concept of IB and reviews evidence examining the clinical impact of IB in the oncology setting. Strategies for identifying and mitigating IB are explored. Highlights include the use of the Implicit Association Test and emotional intelligence. Advanced practice implications are discussed and range from self-improvement to organizational transformation. 




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