Aldridge, Michael D.

Committee Member

Pool, Natalie M.

Committee Member

McNeill, Jeannette A.

Committee Member

Pendleton-Helm, Heather


College of Natural and Health Sciences; School of Nursing, Nursing Education


University of Northern Colorado

Type of Resources


Place of Publication

Greeley, (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created



204 pages

Digital Origin

Born digital


The healthcare environment mandates its staff are able to communicate freely and openly to provide high quality patient care leading to positive patient outcomes. As the largest healthcare profession and those who are at the bedside most often with patients, registered nurses play a vital role in ensuring these outcomes. As advocates for the most vulnerable, nurses must communicate often but before doing so, they must feel psychologically safe. Psychological safety is how one perceives the benefits, risks, and consequences of asking a question, sharing an opinion, reporting an error, or revealing one’s true self to others. It is a belief that one would not be shamed, punished, or humiliated for speaking up with questions, concerns, or mistakes. Although vital in the profession, psychological safety has been found to be essential to the learning process in nursing education. As the demographic of the United States changes and becomes more diverse, the healthcare workforce has been challenged with mirroring that population including nursing education. The minority experience in nursing school has been studied; what is not known is this population’s experiences of psychological safety. The purpose of this unique study was to know the experiences of psychological safety of nursing students who identify as Black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC). Eleven BIPOC, pre-licensure, Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) students from across the United States participated in this qualitative, descriptive study. In-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted, recorded, and analyzed by the researcher to identify repeated themes. Six themes were identified, giving nursing faculty a preliminary understanding of BIPOC nursing students’ experiences: (a) the past informs the present, (b) feeling dismissed, (c) it's just too risky, (d) I will speak up for patients, (e) the learning community is key, and (f) I am needed! The findings revealed nursing faculty must do more to ensure BIPOC students feel included and wanted by enhancing their psychological safety and willingness to participate in class discussions. Furthermore, the discussion provided several recommendations for nursing faculty to create an environment that is not only inclusive of BIPOC students but celebrates the different perspective they bring. Increasing the psychological safety of BIPOC nursing students would benefit all students in learning to care for a highly diverse patient population.

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