Each year, we call for nominations for our Take Pride Campaign in an effort to recognize those places of employment that went above and beyond regarding encouraging diversity; recruiting and retaining minorities; and creating a cooperative, inclusive work environment. We hope all of the nominated facilities continue to lead by example, and we are proud to recognize this year’s winners here.

Dallas Veterans Affair (VA)

Nominated by Catherine Ohakam, Clinical Nurse Supervisor, and Elnora Armstead, Clinical Coordinator

The United States of America ranks as the number one employer of international nurses and VA medical centers across the country rank number one as the most diversified among health care facilities. At Dallas VA, there is virtually every country in the world represented by the employee mix. The patient population as well is heterogeneous and multi-generational.

The Dallas VA organization understands that it is crucial to recruit and retain a diversity of employees that better reflect and meet the healthcare needs of the diverse communities that they are increasingly called upon to serve. Knowing how to serve people with different values, health beliefs and alternative perspectives about health and wellness is a business imperative that drives the recruitment and retention of not only foreign and indigenous nurses but also individuals with different beliefs, customs, traditions, physical size, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability (both physical and mental), political orientation, socio-economic status, occupational status and language.

The VA organization has what can be called blended culture, meaning different cultures that have influenced each other to form unique behavior and belief that individuals in the organization tend to adopt. Many of the employees are military men and women; there is great respect, empathy and admiration for the customers who are also military. The belief and attitude of caring for those who served the country is very much displayed in the day to day activities of the employees in ensuring best outcomes for veterans and their families. The environment is well decorated and adorned with images that serve as reminders of who the customers are. This is clearly represented by the organization’s mission, To fulfill President Lincoln’s promise: “To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan” by serving and honoring the men and women who are America’s Veterans. (Abraham Lincoln).

The Dallas VA Medical Center is strongly and unequivocally committed to the mission and vision of the organization, hence it promotes equal employment opportunity, diversity and inclusion, and the protection of both patients and employee rights in the workplace. Working at the VA means being part of an organization on the leading edge of change, one that is redefining the business of higher education to meet the evolving needs of patients, students, communities, and the veterans. Dallas VA is built on an academically rigorous curriculum that is centered on the values of openness, cultural sensitivity, and service to their community. The organization educates and trains multi-culturally competent, sophisticated, and passionate professionals’ and health care employees who are diverse and dynamic, and this is the cornerstones of excellence.

Our facility’s multi-generational workforce has many opportunities to teach, share and learn from each other. One great example is the organization’s benefit package it demonstrates commitment to family’s by offering its workforce time off to care for children or aging parents. This organization makes positive change in their own lives and the communities around them, because it is built on values of openness and cultural sensitivity.

Frontier Nursing University

Nominated by Jamie Wheeler, Clinical Site Facilitator

I am proud to nominate Frontier Nursing University’s Diversity Initiative PRIDE Program for the TAKE PRIDE campaign. The PRIDE program is a relatively new program in our school’s long history of educating nurses to be nurse-midwives and nurse practitioners, but has made great strides already. Through this program, Frontier has made a commitment to diversity.

Anyone is welcome to be a part this special initiative; you do not have to consider yourself a minority student because the PRIDE program celebrates all types of diversity and inclusion. Our PRIDE program coordinator does a fabulous job of promoting inclusion through various activities including essay contests with winners being able to attend national conferences, the self-paced Online Cultural Center filled with small modules and activities, and monthly webinars. Past topics for these PRIDE meetings have included religious diversity, cultural health disparities, and customer service in healthcare among others. These monthly meetings allow for fluid and candid discussion.

I recently had the opportunity to attend the event of the year for the PRIDE program: Diversity Impact, Frontier’s 5th annual diversity event focused on a wide array of thought-provoking topics. It’s a long weekend students and faculty use to come back to our rural campus with a special focus on diversity and teambuilding. There are even stipends made available so that students’ financial hardships are as limited as possible. I attended numerous sessions, but the two sessions that stuck with me were on bullying/incivility in the workplace and on health disparities of incarcerated African American men. Because my background is in student services, not nursing, I appreciate opportunities like these to be educated on such topics important to all of us receiving healthcare and pertinent issues in a rapidly changing diverse country. Over 100 conference attendees took in Diversity Impact, with many of these participants taking part via our video conferencing system, Big Blue Button. It is an event our university is proud to host on our historic campus in rural Appalachia.

I am honored to work for an organization like Frontier Nursing University that truly is paving the way for our nurse-midwives and nurse practitioners to be educated on more than just their clinical skills. The Diversity Initiative PRIDE program is instrumental in educating our students to be global leaders in their profession.

Nominated by Wilvena McDowell-Bernard, Diversity Initiative PRIDE, Program Coordinator

Frontier Nursing University’s Diversity Initiative PRIDE Program was implemented on campus to promote recruitment and retention to increase diversity in nurse-midwifery and nurse practitioner education, with the goal of recruiting and retaining underrepresented students who are striving to become nurse-midwives or nurse-practitioners. FNU’s Diversity PRIDE Program provides student support services to ensure student success and student completion of their program of study. Within a short time of starting the PRIDE Program, FNU has been able to foster the visibility of cultural awareness and diversity for students campus-wide. Creative discussion about diversity have led to new programs and services for students and FNU faculty/staff to engage in cultural learning. This includes the opening of the Online Cultural Center, also known as the OCC/Center for Studnt Cultural Diversity. The OCC is a 24/7 interactive learning resource center for students to access cultural modules to broaden their insights on cultural health disparities and interpersonal communication in healthcare. Another program the Diversity Initiative PRIDE Program offers is the annual Diversity Impact Weekend Retreat Conference, whereby students come to campus for three days of interactive educational sessions on cultural health topics. Diversity Impact Weekend is an opportunity for students to (re)discover resources that include teambuilding activities, cultural awareness in healthcare, and student leadership discussions to explore and to increase diversity in nursing and nurse-midwifery.

Overall, FNU has been substantial with increasing diversity on campus. The Diversity Initiative PRIDE Program has seen extended improvements with the establishment of external community partnerships in efforts to continue innovative cultural learning in higher education and within the local community. These external partnerships have paved a pathway to collaborate with other collegiate institutions to serve as a strong liaison for cultural inclusion that creates a learning environment essential for educating students who live and work in a rapidly diverse world. FNU’s Diversity Initiative PRIDE Program has received overwhelming responses from students who see the impact the program is making, including higher retention rates with students of color and increased enrollment with our diverse student population. Some of the benefits of the Diversity Initiative PRIDE Program is that it engages students in rebuilding perceptions of themselves and others. Students strive to discover themselves in a world with cultures beyond their own, and are challenged to think beyond their experiences to create a culture of transparency.

In conclusion, I am humbled to write this nomination in recognition of Frontier Nursing University’s active role to foster diversity, inclusiveness, and cooperation within the campus, among students, faculty and staff, within higher education, and across the community. Each day FNU is making efforts to improve and maintain inclusiveness and diversity. In a rapidly growing world, FNU is helping to lead the way to prepare nursing students to meet the global demand of diversity and cultural health to reflect the populations they serve. Our Diversity Initiative PRIDE Program has become more than just a student organization on campus, it has evolved into a pathway to open the door for our students to become global thinkers and healthcare leaders within their communities.

Walla Walla Community College

Nominated by Sandra Gonzalez Graham, Nursing Assistant Coordinator, Transcultural Healthcare Specialist

Walla Walla Community College (WWCC) has rapidly grown from 850 students in 1967 to a present annual enrollment of over 12,000. Located on approximately 100 acres, the Walla Walla campus has justifiably become an educational and cultural center for Southeastern Washington.

The Health Science Division of WWCC consists of Nursing Education and Allied Health. Kathy Adamski the Dean of Health Science Division and Brad Mason Coordinator of the Allied Health Professions are continuing a legacy in support of health science educational programs that address the needs of diverse students and healthcare community.

Consequently, attracting and retaining diverse students’ as well integrating transcultural care into the health science curriculum are the impetus for engaging in Best Practices.

W- Walla Walla Community College

(embraces diversity through the implementation of)

W- Winning Ideas

C- Collaboration

C- Co-instruction

Integrated Basic Education Skills Training (IBEST) Nursing Assistant Courses

Since the turn of the century, IBEST has been assisting students with limited English proficiency and/or limited basic education with the intent to work in healthcare. Collaboration between the Transitional Studies department from the Health Science division have led to many Winning Ideas that are now propagated throughout the college. Success of this program is due to intrusive student advising, Co-instruction between the basic education skills instructor and the content instructor. This effort has allowed students to develop vital skills to succeed in college-level courses and enter the healthcare workforce. Click on Link to view the IBEST program. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCLYLRwAkqM

The Spanish Medical Interpreter/ Translator Program (SMIT)

In 2009, WWCC responded to language access needs in the healthcare community. Historically, the need for interpreters in Washington State was primarily in large urban areas such as Seattle and Spokane. However, as the immigrant population dispersed to more rural areas such as Walla Walla and the surrounding communities the need for Spanish Medical Interpreter services arose. The program’s online model has allowed bilingual working adults and distance learners in surrounding counties to prepare for Language Certification for Medical and Social Interpreting and document translation. Click on link to view the SMIT program. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIc_fZ3Lbik

Nursing Simulation Lab Collaborates with SMIT

Healthcare providers may know that having a Medical Interpreter is helpful; but they may not fully understand the scope of practice, the role of a professional interpreter, or the cultural nuances imbedded in patient communication.

In the spirit of Collaboration Traci Krebs MN NNP- Nursing Faculty and Sandra Gonzalez Graham MSN Ed, Coordinator of the Spanish Medical Interpreter/Translator program at WWCC have melded objectives and created a simulated lab experience that includes 2nd year Nursing students and Spanish Medical Interpreter students.

Students participate in two simulations that consist of a medically intensive hospital experience and a Multidisciplinary Care Conference for a NICU patient and the Spanish speaking family members. Cultural Brokering, Clinical Outcomes and Interfacing with the Interpreter are the main focus of this Co- Instructed Simulation Lab.

In summary, I am proud to be part of an organization such as WWCC which leads and innovates in its commitment to diversity.

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