Diverse nursing groups boost profession
Associations applaud efforts in workforce diversity and cultural competence
By Linda Childers
EDITOR'S NOTE: Linda Childers is a freelance writer.
Anabell Castro Thompson, MSN, APRN, ANP-C, FAAN, president of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses, knows the importance of recognizing and celebrating Hispanic nurses who have contributed to culturally competent healthcare and to reducing health disparities.
She points to nurses such as Alana Cueto, MSN, RN, CNL, a fellow at the New York Academy of Medicine and recipient of NAHN’s 2016 National Henrietta Villaescusa Community Service Award, given annually to a nurse who has contributed to the improvement of health in the Hispanic community.
“Alana has spent her career working to improve the health and well-being of vulnerable children living in distressed, urban neighborhoods,” Thompson said. “She’s also a nurse leader who was the founding president of the NAHN Garden chapter where she led the chapter in an effort to cultivate healthier communities for all the residents of New Jersey.”
Thompson said NAHN uses different methods to recognize excellence within its 46 chapters. For student nurses, NAHN offers both formal and informal mentoring programs and student scholarships. “Two of our biggest initiatives are encouraging our members to pursue advanced nursing degrees and to consider nursing careers in academia and research,” Thompson said.
According to a 2016 report from the National Academy of Medicine, about 13% of advanced practice registered nurses are from an ethnic or racial minority. With U.S. Census Bureau projections pointing to minority populations becoming the majority by 2043, organizations including the American Association of Colleges of Nursing say professional nurses must demonstrate a sensitivity to and understanding of a variety of cultures to provide high-quality care across settings.
Thompson knows how important cultural competence is in the healthcare setting. She remembers administering the Denver Developmental Screening Test, used to determine cognitive and behavioral problems, to a 4-year-old Spanish-speaking girl. When the girl was asked to demonstrate how to play Pat-a-Cake, she did not respond. Although Thompson could have marked her as being "deficient" in that one area, she remembered there was a similar Spanish clapping game called Tortillitas. When she asked the girl to demonstrate Tortillitas, she smiled and began clapping.
“Nurses are the best educators and patient advocates,” Thompson said. “This experience at an early time in my career taught me the importance of incorporating cultural context into assessment and practice, and ultimately delivering culturally competent care.”
Each year, at their annual conference, the National Black Nurses Association recognizes nurses in several areas, including advanced practice nursing, nurse educator, nurse entrepreneur, nurse researcher, community service and uniformed services. They also present Lifetime Achievement and Trailblazer awards, and present scholarships to nursing students who have demonstrated community service.
Linda Washington-Brown, PhD, EJD, ARNP-C, associate dean for the RN-BSN program at Broward College, and president of the Miami chapter of the NBNA, received the Nurse of the Year for Community Service in 2016. A weekly volunteer at a homeless shelter in her area, Washington-Brown provides physicals to shelter residents and also offers her services researching, reviewing and writing grants for nonprofit organizations that need funding. She also serves as a board member for the Miami Rescue Mission and volunteers with Broward Outreach Mission and the Broward Health Department.
Eric J. Williams, DNP, RN, CNE, president of the NBNA, and assistant director and professor of nursing at Santa Monica College in California, said the NBNA strives to recognize black nurses who “go beyond the bedside.”
“Last year, in honor of NBNA’s 45th anniversary, we honored our next generation of nursing leaders—45 nurses under the age of 40,” Williams said. “These are nurses who have shown strong leadership and demonstrated excellence and innovation in their practice setting, and who aspire to be leaders on the national level.”
With 101 chapters across the country, Williams said the NBNA also plans to acknowledge nurses who have made a difference during National Nurses Week.
“We have a robust retention and recruitment plan and I think recognizing excellence within our organization plays an important role,” Williams said. “We look to partner with the best and brightest NBNA members who are ready to pursue leadership roles in nursing, and also to encourage nurses to join NBNA.”
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Recognize colleges and workplaces
The American Assembly for Men in Nursing takes a slightly different approach to recognizing excellence. Each year they recognize the Best Workplace and Best Nursing Schools for Men.
As part of the AAMN’s campaign to increase the number of men in nursing by 20% by the year 2020, the AAMN recognizes nursing programs and workplaces across the U.S. who have demonstrated significant efforts in recruiting and retaining men in nursing, in providing men a supportive educational environment, and in enlightening faculty, students and the community about the contributions men make to the nursing profession.
“Colleges that we’ve recognized include the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Ohio State University, Duke University and the University of South Carolina,” said Brent MacWilliams, PhD, MSN, RN, APNP, ANP-BC, AAMN president and associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh College of Nursing.
These are nurses who have shown strong leadership and demonstrated excellence and innovation in their practice setting, and who aspire to be leaders on the national level.”
- Eric J. Williams, RN
Build a diverse workforce
In order to continue meeting the health needs of a diverse population, the number of nurses from underrepresented populations needs to increase. Nursing organizations including The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The National League for Nursing, and The American Association of Colleges of Nursing agree and are working to increase these numbers. Racial or ethnic minorities make up 38% of the population but just 25% of nurses, according to a 2016 report from the National Academy of Medicine. The gap is wider for advanced practice registered nurses, of whom just 13% are minorities. Males also continue to be underrepresented — according to a 2015 report by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 9% of the active nursing workforce in the U.S. is male.
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MacWilliams said nursing schools that are honored often are those whose course syllabi depict men in nursing and who link students with role models in the clinical setting. The number of men who graduated from the nursing school is also considered.
Duke University School of Nursing, in Durham, N.C., was chosen as a 2016 recipient, because of its “commitment to forwarding diversity and inclusion for underrepresented populations in nursing and men in particular," MacWilliams said. "There are testimonials from students and faculty throughout the application that the climate for men who are becoming nurses is inclusive and men friendly.”
Hospitals that have been recognized by AAMN include the Mayo Clinic, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and WVU Hospitals in West Virginia. "Our evaluation process is based on 19 quality metrics which workplaces must meet or exceed to be recognized,” MacWilliams said. “The hospitals chosen have all demonstrated significant efforts in recruiting and retaining men in a workplace culture supportive of men in nursing at all levels of nursing practice.”
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