Increasing diversity in the healthcare workforce has brought to the foreground the importance of addressing phenomena of racism, discrimination, and bias against healthcare workers of diverse backgrounds. This paper aims to contribute to the growing literature on patient bias by exploring the experiences of migrant physicians practicing in Sweden using thematic content analysis of 17 semi-structured interviews and applying microaggressions theory. Four themes pertaining to different forms of patient bias experienced by the respondents emerged from the transcripts such as refusal of care, questioning language competence, questioning medical competence, and ethnic jokes/stereotypes. Four additional themes dealing with strategies implemented by the respondents to cope with patient bias were also identified, namely confrontation avoidance, collaboration with Swedish healthcare staff, self-disclosure, and active listening. The findings elucidate the need to encourage inclusion in the workplace by providing opportunities for continuous language training and collegial support.
Keywords: health communication, patient bias, prejudice, migrant physicians, thematic content analysis