Tune Into New Podcast Series: Conversations About Health Care Delivery in the United States

Tune Into New Podcast Series: Conversations About Health Care Delivery in the United States

Springer Publishing launched a new monthly health care podcast series, Conversations About Health Care Delivery in the United States, featuring discussions with prominent experts, innovators, and leaders in the health sector available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Amazon Music starting on March 7.

The podcast series is hosted by Jim Knickman, the former Robert Derzon Chair at the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, and Brian Elbel, MPH, Professor of Population Health and Health Policy at NYU Wagner and the NYU Grossman School of Medicine. The series dives into complex and challenging issues affecting the U.S. health care system, its workforce, and the populations interacting with it, covering topics like health management, public health, health behavior, population health, healthcare quality, and health economics.

Knickman and Elbel engage with guests who are leaders in the health sector, from aging services to health policy, to learn more about the key drivers shaping the health care system, challenges and complexities related to health inequities, and the exciting career opportunities available to future health care professionals and leaders.

The podcast series is a companion to the 13th edition of Jonas and Kovner’s Health Care Delivery in the United States, as each episode has ties to essential concepts, challenges, complexities, and themes in the textbook.

Podcast Episode

How the U.S. Health Care Systems is Preparing for the Demographic Cliff features Ramsey Alwin, President and CEO of the National Council on Aging, and Kathleen Cameron, Senior Director of the National Council on Aging’s Center for Healthy Aging.

The episode offers an in-depth discussion about the demographic shift, how the roles of families and social systems have evolved, federal and state-level programs for seniors, social isolation and inequities in the aging population, healthy aging, and exciting career opportunities in aging services.

The podcast series also features a supplemental instructor guide for anyone using the textbook that provides learning activities, discussion questions, and other guidance to engage with each episode, delivering practical and engaging content to learners and professionals in the health care space.

Meet a Champion of Nursing Diversity: Kimberly Williams

Meet a Champion of Nursing Diversity: Kimberly Williams

Kimberly M. Williams, DNP, MSN, RN, NE-BC, has dedicated her career to serving patients at every level. She started in health care as a front desk clerk and worked up to her current position as the Director of Nursing Operations at the Bass Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Diseases at Stanford Medicine Children’s Health.meet-a-champion-of-nursing-diversity-kimberly-williams

Williams is an important nursing leader, and we are honored to feature her in the Champions of Nursing Diversity Series 2024. This series highlights healthcare leaders who are prominent figures in their organizations and are making significant changes in the nursing field.

Meet Kimberly Williams, DNP, MSN, RN, NE-BC, Director of Nursing Operations at The Bass Center for Childhood Cancer and Diseases at Stanford Medicine Children’s Health.

Talk about your role in nursing.

I am the director of nursing operations at The Bass Center for Childhood Cancer and Diseases at Stanford Medicine Children’s Health. As the director of nursing operations at a world-class pediatric hospital, I hold a multifaceted role encompassing numerous responsibilities. My role extends beyond the provision of patient care and involves strategic decision-making and ensuring the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the Center’s nursing operations. To do so effectively, I partner with over 180 nurses throughout the Bass Childhood Cancer Center’s various departments, including hematology, oncology, stem cell transplant, and the Center for Definitive and Curative Medicine. We deliver compassionate, high-quality care to our young patients and their families.

As the chair of the Patients and Families Committee on the house-wide Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council, I actively address health disparities, advocate for culturally sensitive care, and promote diversity, equity, and inclusivity within the healthcare system. I also mentor aspiring nurses, guiding and empowering them to pursue their dreams and overcome obstacles.

Tell us about your career path and how you ascended to this role.

My path progressed with a series of fits and starts. As a parent, I had to juggle motherhood, a full-time job, and my academics, so it took me roughly six years to obtain my BSN. Upon graduating from Texas Christian University in 2001, I settled into my first nursing role at Cook Children’s Healthcare System on the medical/surgical floor. Still, I always had my eyes on becoming a PICU nurse. After a year there, I transferred to the PACU to get some experience in intubation and sedation. I then transferred to the PICU, where I worked as a nurse and a charge nurse. There, I got the desire to return to school and obtain my master’s. I completed my MSN in 2010 from the University of Phoenix. Afterward, I accepted a job as a nurse manager, where I spent eight years before taking a leap of faith and accepting a position at Stanford Medicine Children’s Health as a patient care manager for The Bass Center for Childhood Cancer and Diseases. I worked in that role for about two years before taking the interim role of director of nursing operations. I have now been in that role for a little over three years.

It’s been a long journey, beginning as a Black, economically disadvantaged girl from a small town outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Growing up, I faced numerous challenges that could have hindered my progress. However, I was fueled by a burning desire to make a difference, overcome limitations, and pursue my dream of becoming a nurse. I rose above my circumstances to succeed in nursing, and my experience culminated in a leadership position at Stanford Medicine Children’s Health, serving as a testament to determination, resilience, and the power of education.

How long have you worked in the nursing field? Why did you become a nurse?

Sometimes, others can see something within us that we may not recognize.

I have been in nursing for almost 25 years and came into this field by happenstance. I was a single mother of three rambunctious boys at the time, working as a clerk in a children’s hospital. One of the physicians I worked with recognized that I had the qualities and potential to excel as a nurse. She would often tell me I should consider going to nursing school. For over a year, she kept encouraging me and was determined to get me to take one class. I finally agreed. I will never forget the first class I took, Psychology 101. I received an ‘A’ in that course. All I needed to confirm that I could do anything I put my mind to. I owe a lot of gratitude to that doctor. Her encouragement motivated me to pursue a new path and passion, creating a better future for myself and my family. Looking back, I feel that my journey is a true testament to the transformative power of mentorship.

What are the most important attributes of today’s nursing leaders?

I want to be intentional in answering this question from the lens of a Black nurse and DE&I advocate. I feel the most essential attributes of today’s nursing leaders include cultural competency, advocacy, mentorship, and community engagement.

To truly provide equitable, compassionate care, we must recognize and respect the unique cultural dynamics and challenges faced by the diverse communities we serve. As leaders, we must be attuned to these nuances through cultural learning, which equips us to deliver holistic care, meeting each patient’s and their family’s psychological, emotional, spiritual, cultural, and individual needs.

Advocacy is a crucial attribute for leaders in the nursing profession today. We can promote patient rights, ensure patient safety, empower patients with the needed information to make informed decisions, and more through advocacy.

As I mentioned before, mentorship has the power to change lives. When I came into the field, few Black nurses were in any leadership roles. I was often the only Black leader in more rooms than I’d like to remember. And this was the catalyst for my commitment to promoting and supporting up-and-coming nurses and diversity within the profession.

The last attribute I’d like to touch on is the importance of community engagement. People don’t know what they don’t know. As the eyes and ears of some of our most vulnerable populations, we must embed ourselves within our communities to promote community health initiatives, provide educational resources, and collaborate with community leaders to address health disparities and promote health equity.

What is the most significant challenge facing nursing today?

One of the most significant challenges facing nurses today is the persistent disparities and inequities in healthcare access and outcomes among marginalized populations. One key challenge is the need for more diversity within the nursing profession. While progress has been made, nursing continues to struggle with achieving a workforce that reflects the racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity of our communities. A homogenous nursing workforce can limit patients’ ability to connect with and receive culturally sensitive care from healthcare providers who understand their unique needs and backgrounds.

Additionally, biases and discrimination persist within the healthcare system, impeding equitable care delivery. Implicit biases can influence decision-making, communication, and patient interaction, leading to disparities in treatment and outcomes. Moreover, the challenge of healthcare access persists for marginalized populations, including racial and ethnic minority groups, low-income individuals, LGBTQ+ communities, and those with limited English proficiency. These populations face significant barriers, including lack of health insurance, geographic disparities, and social determinants of health, contributing to healthcare inequity.

As a nurse leader, how are you working to overcome this challenge?

As a Black nurse leader, I strive to create inclusive and welcoming healthcare environments.

While often difficult to navigate, we can overcome many challenges by advocating for policies and practices that address these systematic barriers.

Nurses can foster culturally sensitive, competent care by actively listening to patients’ concerns, promoting patient autonomy, and respecting patients’ values and beliefs. As mentioned earlier, I am chair of the Patients and Families Committee on the house-wide Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council at Stanford Medicine Children’s Health. In this role, I advocate for inclusive policies and practices that value and support diversity, prevent discrimination, and cultivate an inclusive workplace that celebrates different perspectives and ensures equitable opportunities for professional growth. Through organizational partnerships, Stanford Children’s is addressing some of these challenges by developing nursing-focused education programs that emphasize DE&I as fundamental components of the curriculum. This ensures that our workforce, especially nurses, are clinically skilled and culturally educated. Ongoing diversity training, mentorships, and continued education opportunities can promote nurses’ understanding of diverse patient populations and foster inclusive practices.

Despite the numerous obstacles within our profession, I am confident that with continued education and systemic support, nurses can play a vital role in advancing health equity and reducing disparities in healthcare.

What nursing leader inspires you the most and why?

There are so many who inspire me. When I look at the history of Black nurse leaders, the first person that comes to mind is the remarkable contributions of Mary Eliza Mahoney. Mary Eliza Mahoney (1845-1926) was the first African American registered nurse in the United States. Mahoney’s resilience and dedication to overcoming significant adversity in pursuit of her nursing career during a time of racial discrimination and inequality had a lasting impact on nursing and continue to inspire nurses of all backgrounds to this day.

However, the nurse leader who inspires me the most is my sister-in-law, Dr. Shakyryn Napier, DHS, RN, CPN, NEA-BC, LSSYB, and the Director of the Heart Center at Cook Children’s Healthcare System. Dr. Napier is one of the few Black nurse leaders I’ve enjoyed working alongside for most of my career. She possesses exceptional humility, demonstrating intense sincerity in her interactions with others. What sets her apart is her unwavering commitment to professional and personal mentorship. She invested her time and energy into me and was one of a few Black nurse leaders who recognized my potential, even when I doubted it myself. She believed in me and played an integral role in my leadership development.

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

I want to share a personal experience reaffirming that I am truly walking in my purpose.

Four months ago, my father was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer that metastasized to his bones and spine. About a month after his diagnosis, my 35-year-old son underwent an above-the-knee leg amputation. The experience of sitting on the other side of healthcare as a daughter and a mother has profoundly touched me and deepened my understanding of humility, compassion, mercy, and grace. As I provide support to my father and son during these difficult times, I am witnessing firsthand the physical, emotional, and psychological toll that illness and disability can have on families. This experience has enabled me to approach my role as a nurse leader with an even greater depth of compassion and understanding. Humility is a crucial quality in healthcare, as it allows us to recognize our limitations and biases while respecting the diverse perspectives and needs of those we care for. My experience has humbled me, reminding me of life’s vulnerability and fragility. Through my experience, I hope to provide a comforting presence, lend support, and cultivate stronger connections with patients and families navigating their difficult journeys.

Lastly, I’d like to emphasize the importance of self-care. Please seek support when needed, as our careers and personal lives can also affect our well-being. When prioritizing well-being, we can provide better compassionate care and leadership to those who need it.

Meet a Champion of Nursing Diversity: Kimberly Cook

Meet a Champion of Nursing Diversity: Kimberly Cook

Kimberly Cook, RN, BSN, is a highly accomplished nurse leader with a 30-year career in the healthcare industry. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a nursing degree and became a nurse in the Army early in her career. During wartime, Cook showed her dedication and commitment to patient care, which instilled in her a profound sense of duty, resilience, and an unwavering ability to thrive under pressure. meet-a-champion-of-nursing-diversity-kimberly-cook

Throughout her career, Cook has held various management positions where she consistently demonstrated exceptional leadership qualities. She rose through the ranks quickly, earning the respect and admiration of her colleagues, staff, and executive team. Her visionary mindset has enabled her to drive positive change and implement innovative strategies within healthcare. 

Cook holds the Director of Nursing Administration Staffing position at the University of Maryland Capital Region Health, a member organization of the University of Maryland Medical System. In this role, Cook leads a team of dedicated professionals, tirelessly ensuring that the right resources and personnel are available to deliver quality patient care.

Cook is an important nursing leader, and we’re proud to profile her as part of the Champions of Nursing Diversity Series 2024. The series highlights healthcare leaders who are prominent figures in their organizations and are making transformational impacts in nursing.

Meet Kimberly Cook, RN, BSN, Nurse Director, Nursing Admin/Staffing at the University of Maryland Capital Region Health.

Talk about your role in nursing.

As the Director of Nursing Administration/Staffing, I hold a key leadership position responsible for overseeing the nursing administration and staffing functions within UM Capital Region Health. My key responsibilities include the following:

  • Provide strong leadership and guidance to the nursing administration and staffing team.
  • Develop and implement strategic goals, objectives, and policies related to nursing administration and staffing.
  • Foster a positive and collaborative work environment that promotes teamwork, respect, and professional development.
  • Develop and execute staffing plans to ensure optimal allocation of nursing staff across all departments and shifts.
  • Collaborate with unit managers to monitor and maintain appropriate staffing levels based on acuity and workload demands.
  • Implement effective scheduling practices to ensure adequate coverage and adherence to the Collective Bargaining Agreement and budgeted financial targets.
  • Prepare and manage the nursing administration and staffing budget, ensuring efficient resource allocation.
  • Manage and assess daily productivity and labor management.
  • Monitor and control staffing-related expenditures, identifying cost savings without compromising patient care.
  • Monitor and evaluate staff performance, providing regular feedback, coaching, and recognition.
  • Collaborate with quality management teams to identify improvement areas and implement initiatives to enhance patient outcomes.
  • Oversee the recruitment and selection process for staff and agency staff.
  • Onboard new staff and agency staff.
  • Manage all agency staff recruitment, onboarding, and billing.

How long have you worked in the nursing field?

> 32 years

Why did you become a nurse? 

I attended a Catholic high school where volunteering was a requirement to graduate. I volunteered at a local hospital because it was close to my school. Prior to volunteering, the field of nursing had not crossed my mind. However, observing the fantastic work of nurses during my volunteer service triggered that “ah ha” moment, where I realized that Nursing was the profession I wanted to pursue.

What are the most important attributes of today’s nursing leaders?

There are several important attributes of today’s nursing leaders. The one that is most important for me is adaptability and resilience. The healthcare industry is continuously evolving, and nursing leaders must be adaptable to embrace change and lead their teams through transitions. They should be resilient in the face of challenges, remaining calm and composed while leading others.

What does being a nursing leader mean to you, and what are you most proud of?

Being a nurse leader involves inspiring and influencing others towards a common goal. I am most proud when I can create and sustain effective teams while fostering a positive work environment where staff feel supported and valued.

Tell us about your career path and how you ascended to that role.

My Career began as an Army nurse. After leaving active duty, I remained a federal employee working in a military hospital. My first job was as a manager of two 40-bed Med Surg Units. After several years in a managerial role, I transitioned to nursing supervisor. As a Nursing Supervisor, I had a keen sense of staffing and how it applied to budgeting and productivity. The role of the Director opened, and I was asked to step into the role based on my previous work and reputation.

What is the most significant challenge facing nursing today?

The biggest challenge in nursing today is our ability to change and adapt as healthcare changes. Since Covid, we have had to be creative with staffing to care for our patients. However, we must remember to care for our staff in the same frame.

As a nursing leader, how are you working to overcome this challenge?

By keeping the organization’s goals in sight, but always remaining humble and empathetic.

What nursing leader inspires you the most and why?  

General Hazel Johnson-Brown was the first African-American woman to become a General in the United States Army and the first African-American Chief of the Army Nurse Corps. Her accomplishments and impact have had a profound effect. Her success demonstrated that black women could achieve the highest leadership positions with determination, perseverance, and skill.

What inspirational message would you like to share with the next generation of nurses?

Nursing can be challenging at times, and there may be moments when you feel discouraged. However, it’s essential to recognize that even the most challenging days present valuable personal and professional growth opportunities. Keep moving forward confidently, knowing that tomorrow will bring a fresh start.

Meet a Champion of Nursing Diversity: Elodia Mercier

Meet a Champion of Nursing Diversity: Elodia Mercier

For almost 40 years as the Director of Nursing for Throughput Operations at Montefiore Health System in New York, Elodia Mercier, RNC, MS, has been advancing patient care and creating and defining new roles for fellow nurses and other providers.

In June 2021, Montefiore was evaluating performance improvement initiatives to enhance patient experiences and alleviate flow challenges and decided to open a discharge lounge. The idea of a discharge lounge isn’t new, but being assisted by the clinician with whom patients just bonded is.meet-a-champion-of-nursing-diversity-elodia-mercier

Mercier was chosen to open the discharge lounge and met the challenges of a crowded emergency department (Montefiore is amongst the busiest in the country) and limited beds for admissions. Under Mercier’s supervision, the lounge, intended to assist 10 patients daily, quickly increased to 30-40. Over 27 months, Montefiore’s Discharge Lounge received more than 678 patients per month. On average, patients stay for approximately 35 minutes. This time spent in the lounge has equated to more than 10,800-bed hours saved, the equivalent of 62 additional beds – a total game-changer, particularly for an urban hospital. Mercier showcased this success at the New York Organization for Nursing Leadership last September.

In addition to the discharge lounge, Mercier developed Montefiore’s SHHH (Silent Hospitals Help Healing) program and other vital initiatives. She is also an active participant in the College of Mount Saint Vincent’s mentorship program, which pairs successful alums/trustees and friends of the college with bright, dedicated students eager to gain skills and insight that will allow them to channel their passion and talents into successful, satisfying careers.

As a recipient of a National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) award for her participation in community affairs in 2011, Mercier is an important nursing leader, and we’re proud to profile her as part of the Champions of Nursing Diversity Series 2024. The series highlights healthcare leaders who are prominent figures in their organizations and are making transformational impacts in nursing.

Meet Elodia Mercier, RNC, MS, Director of Nursing for Throughput Operations at Montefiore Health System in New York.

Talk about your role in nursing.

As a nurse of nearly 40 years at Montefiore Health System, I’m always focused on the people we serve regarding safety, getting well and their patient experience. My role as Director of Nursing for Throughput Operations combines these three aspects, specifically focusing on the discharge process and ensuring this takes place in a calm and comfortable environment.

Our Henry and Lucy Moses Hospital Discharge Lounge is the last impression patients have when leaving our hospital, and we want it to be a good one. I’m focused on this positive experience and memory for patients and their families, ensuring all needs are met and leaving them as fully satisfied customers.

How long have you worked in nursing?

July 23, 1984, to present. I started as a part-time nursing attendant at Montefiore while attending the College of Mount Saint Vincent from 1980-1984.

Why did you become a nurse? 

I became a nurse because I like helping people. Also, when my great-grandmother was ill in this very hospital, I did not understand what was happening to her. This memory stayed with me, and in my mind, I knew I wanted to make a difference for patients and their families, helping them better understand what is happening in terms of care and being able to teach and help heal. Last but not least, I was the first in my extended family to attend and graduate college. This was important to me, coming from a Caribbean /Afro-American Hispanic background.

What are the essential attributes of today’s nursing leaders? 

Being a transformational leader. This means keying into the emotional intelligence of the people you lead. It also means finding a way to help people best understand their roles and values and the importance these factors play in helping our patients. Each person learns and processes things differently. A good or transformational leader finds ways to help each person on the team understand how they process information and produce the best outcome. I believe in leading by example and rewarding staff, even if it’s a simple acknowledgment or a thank you birthday card sent to them at home outlining their contributions throughout the year as a nurse on the unit. I have always believed that happy staff leads to happy patients and great outcomes. A good leader listens and values their team.

What does being a nursing leader mean to you, and what are you most proud of?

Being a nursing leader to me means supporting my teams by way of education, accountability, and pride. I am proud of a few things, so it is a challenge to name just one.

-I am proud of having the highest consecutive year-after-year Press Ganey scores on my units as a nurse manager.

-I am proud of having the highest 365 degree and staff satisfaction surveys.

-I am proud of the creation of the Silent Hospital Help Healing Program that I initiated at Montefiore for noise reduction.

-I am proud that I established the motto now commonly used around the campus, “Happy Monday” or “Happy Friday.” I intended to help nurses and anyone else focus on the good things in life and all the good things they may have accomplished and still hope to achieve.

Tell us about your career path and how you ascended to that role.

I started as a staff RN in 1984 in the Neurology unit of Montefiore and then moved to the Rehabilitation units for long-term care. I was then promoted to become a Patient Care Coordinator and then a Nurse Manager in the Department of Medicine. After consecutive years of consistently meeting high Press Ganey (patient. satisfaction scores), it led me to the next step of my career, which was being promoted to director of nursing.

Then, in 2021, Peter Semczuk, SVP and executive director of the Moses and Wakefield Campuses in the Bronx invited me to become the Director of Nursing for Throughput Operations and help open our discharge lounge. My focus now is on healing our patients and working with our nurses and other staff to focus on barriers that might hinder their safe discharge or could unnecessarily increase the length of stay in the hospital.

Data is the driving force of the discharge lounge. Our data helps empower our nurses to think of discharging from day one – from decanting the emergency department to getting patients home safely. Sample data include the average length of stay in terms of bed saved hours per unit and when patients are discharged to the lounge. Our data reflects how each unit contributes to the end goal. When the lounge opened, the intent was to assist 10 patients per day, but that number quickly increased to 30-40. Approximately one-third of adults leaving our Moses Campus and emergency department are cared for in the discharge lounge today. We’ve also saved approximately 11,000+ bed hours, equivalent to more than 62 additional beds – a game-changer for a busy, urban hospital. Currently, my colleagues and I use data to help specific units achieve target measures for throughput. Nursing is so diverse and has so many opportunities. I enjoy focusing on throughput as this position focuses on relationship-centered care.

What is the most significant challenge facing nursing today?

As a result of COVID, many new nurses missed out on opportunities to experience more clinical rotations when in school. When they arrive in the workforce, they depend on strong leaders and strong support to help guide them. Also, many senior nurses are leaving the workforce and preparing for retirement. This creates a more significant gap in mentoring and preceptorship by the senior nurses for the newer nurses. This is why it is imperative to have strong, supportive leadership.

As a nursing leader, how are you working to overcome this challenge?

Along with many of my colleagues and the outstanding nursing leaders at Montefiore, efforts are being made to help teach, engage, and provide more supportive and educational opportunities to meet the needs of both new and current staff. This month, for example, I conducted a Joint Commission mock survey prep for our radiology department. For many, it will be their first time participating in a Joint Commission survey, so I took the nurses on a walking tour of our radiology department instead of a formal class. We reviewed where some of the equipment, like the oxygen valves, were, and we reviewed the power of non-verbal communication, like body language. The message was that if a surveyor asks a question, then everyone should come to the support of one of our nurses. This sends a message of confidence.

What nursing leader inspires you the most and why?

Joanne Duffy, an adjunct professor at Indiana University because she focuses on the quality caring model and relationship-centered care. She believes in taking affirmative action to serve problems rather than identify and report them. I can very much relate to this.

Maureen Scanlan, our SVP and Chief Nurse Executive, is inspiring at Montefiore. Maureen exemplifies nursing theory and practice goals, has a calm demeanor, and is always gracious, supportive, and professional. As I have transitioned to various nursing roles, she has always been there to advise me and ensure I am kept abreast of all nursing-related topics within Montefiore.

What inspirational message would you like to share with the next generation of nurses?

Help, support, and never be afraid to try new things because success is derived from trying and learning – you never know unless you try.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers? 

I have loved being a nurse at Montefiore. I have worked hard here, and Montefiore has been excellent and supportive of me. If you want to see and experience a family, community, and well-organized hospital, visit – I will have a hot cup of coffee or tea waiting.

Meet a Champion of Nursing Diversity: Dr. Farah Laurent

Meet a Champion of Nursing Diversity: Dr. Farah Laurent

Meet Farah Laurent, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, NPD-BC, CPXP, TCRN, CPEN, CEN. She is a nurse career coach and passionate about helping other nurses achieve their career goals. Dr. Laurent is a former level 1 trauma emergency nurse and a strong advocate for nurses. She is the director of nursing for a nursing program at a community college and an active member of various nursing organizations such as the National Nurses in Business Association, ENA, ANA, NLN, DNP of Color, and AONE. Her goal is to make a positive impact in the nursing profession every day. Meet-a-champion-of-nursing-diversity-farah-laurent

Dr. Laurent’s mission is to empower nurses, especially nursing students, to advocate for themselves, their patients, and the profession. She amplifies nurses’ voices through her LinkedIn show “The Nursing Dose with Farah,” where she interviews nurses from around the world to speak on different nursing topics such as leadership, mentorship, nurse entrepreneurship, wellness, and career tips. Dr. Laurent is a nursing trailblazer and the founder of Farah Laurent International Nurse Coach LLC, where she provides unparalleled career guidance to help nurses level up and land their dream positions. 

She actively mentors for the American Nurses Association and the Canadian Black Nurses Alliance and is dedicated to advancing the profession and increasing diversity in the nursing workforce. Dr. Laurent is not only changing the nursing game, but she’s also transforming the entire industry with her electric energy and unwavering commitment to excellence. She is a force to be reckoned with!

Dr. Laurent is an important nursing leader, and we’re proud to profile her as part of the Champions of Nursing Diversity Series 2024. The series highlights healthcare leaders who are prominent figures in their organizations and are making transformational impacts in nursing.

Meet Farah Laurent, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, NPD-BC, CPXP, TCRN, CPEN, CEN, a director of nursing for a nursing program at a community college and a nurse career coach.

What is your title, and where do you work? Feel free to include a side gig, too.

I am currently the Director of Nursing for a nursing program at a community college.

I am the founder of Farah Laurent International Nurse Coach, where I provide career guidance to nurses looking to enter the nursing profession or change careers! I am a dynamic speaker, author, educator, workshop facilitator, and world traveler!

I host my own LinkedIn live show entitled “The Nursing Dose with Farah,” where I interview different nursing guests and cover topics that matter to the nursing community. I plan to turn it into a Podcast in the next few weeks, and it will be available on Spotify.

Talk about your role in nursing

As a Nurse Career Coach, I assist all nurses with career guidance, no matter where they are in their careers. Some of my most popular services include resume and cover letter writing, interview preparation, and career clarity. Most of my clients are new graduate nurses; however, I have also helped nurses land educator roles and leadership roles.

I guide nurses on how to self-promote, communicate confidently, and be more visible! After working with me, most of my clients have one common theme: experiencing a change in mindset and a transformation of increased confidence.

As a nursing student, I did not see faculty that looked like me or had no mentors. One of my clinical instructors once told me in my senior year that I would never be an emergency nurse and laughed in my face. I did not listen to that negativity and passionately pursued my dream of becoming an emergency nurse as a new graduate nurse! I became a very successful emergency nurse with multiple certifications. I was awarded the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) and Society of Trauma Nurses (STN) doctoral scholarships. I also most recently was allowed to be a peer reviewer for the Journal of Emergency Nursing (JEN), which I am incredibly proud to be a part of.

I am passionate about this career coaching business because today, I am what I need as a new nurse. I am all about empowering nurses and celebrating the nursing profession! I am here to disrupt the status quo and shatter old nursing narratives.

As the Director of Nursing at the community college, I lead a team of nursing faculty and coordinate the nursing program to achieve excellent program outcomes. I am proud that this community college is contributing to increasing the diversity in nursing.

How long have you worked in the nursing field?

Although it does seem like that long ago, I have been a nurse for over 20 years. I started my career in Canada as an emergency nurse. I then combined my love of Emergency Medicine and traveling by moving to New York City as a travel nurse. I worked in various emergency departments and level 1 trauma centers. Naturally, I became a preceptor, mentor, and coach, so I pursued my master’s in nursing education. It took me over 2 years to land an educator role, but I was relentless. I simultaneously accepted 2 positions as adjunct faculty for NYU and as a clinical educator.

Although I had some wonderful experiences as a nurse, I also faced many challenges with bullying, discrimination, and racism. I held various roles in education and leadership. I experienced a blindsided layoff as the Director of Education, which was a complete awakening for me. I realized that there is no such thing as job security and had to rely on my coaching income until I found my next position.

As a recent business owner, I am committed to helping other nurses find their space in entrepreneurship. I wrote a book entitled “Nurses Making Money Moves: A Nurses Guide to Starting a Business.” The traditional education system does not promote entrepreneurship, especially not in nursing. I want nurses to be exposed to different nursing roles and opportunities beyond the beside. Throughout my nursing career, I consistently had 2 or 3 jobs to supplement my income. Sometimes, it can be challenging in these nursing streets, and nurses want to make more money!

Why did you become a nurse? 

I was always attracted to healthcare and helping people. I used to use all the Band-Aids for my dolls and would nurse them to health as young as 4. One of my favorite shows was “Trauma: Life in the ER,” so I was meant to be an ER nurse! My career choices were being either a choreographer or a professional photographer, so I chose wisely! My personality is laid back, calm, adventurous, and humorous, so I fit right in!

What are the most essential attributes of today’s nursing leaders? 

Leaders should have integrity, empathy, emotional intelligence, patience, and humility. Leaders should be creative, inclusive, transparent, strategic/critical thinkers, optimistic, passionate, and accountable. Nursing leaders should be charismatic, effective communicators, and lead by example. They should have a strong vision that can inspire others into action and create new leaders.

Most importantly, leaders must listen to their teams and collaborate easily.

What does being a nursing leader mean to you, and what are you most proud of?

Being a nursing leader means genuinely caring about people, whether those people are patients, employees, colleagues, or external stakeholders. I am most proud of the values my parents instilled in me. It does not matter who it is; everyone deserves kindness, respect, and understanding.

I am proud of how I connect with people and the relationships I have built, mentoring nurses and empowering them to pursue their dreams, goals, and aspirations. Nursing is not just a profession; it is a calling. I am proud to be a nurse; it is truly an honor and privilege. Nurses make an impact in the world every single day.

I am proud of obtaining my doctoral despite all the hardships I have faced and that I am a role model for my 2 young children. I am proud to be an immigrant and first-gen graduate!

Tell us about your career path and how you ascended to that role.

I sometimes found it very hard to advance to new roles or get promoted even though I was the most qualified candidate. I have fought extremely hard to get to where I am today, and it was a challenging climb. This career path has no linear path and many winds and turns.

My grit and conviction in my abilities have gotten me this far. I always had a passion for learning and continuous improvement. I would create goals, smash them, and move on to the next. I hold 6 board certifications. I recently graduated from a DNP program in organizational leadership. I started my doctoral program while working full-time when my daughter was just a few months old, and my son was 4. Everyone thought I was crazy, including some of my family members, but I was determined to do what I wanted.

I have some great preceptors and mentors along my nursing journey. This is why I am such an advocate for mentorship. I serve as a mentor for the American Nurses Association and the Canadian Black Nurses Alliance. Representation matters, so I like to make myself visible to other nurses.

I love sharing my nursing journey because many other nurses can relate, and it can give me the strength to keep moving forward. I have participated in many nursing organizations, such as the ANPD, ENA, STN, AONL, NLN, and most recently, the DNP of Color. I am committed to advancing our profession and working to increase diversity in our workforce.

I am a passionate and dynamic speaker. I have spoken at many different nursing conferences and events. I recently spoke at the National Nurses in Business Association about nursing entrepreneurship. I love positively representing the nursing profession and recruiting for our profession. I have been featured in different nursing media/podcasts and always look for ways to collaborate.

What is the most significant challenge facing nursing today?

In the spirit of full transparency, nursing issues are very complex. I will discuss a few problems from my perspective working in Canada and the USA.

Nursing retention crisis: There is a lot of talk about the nursing shortage. However, there is a more significant issue with nursing retention. Nursing organizations must make a considerable commitment to creating healthy work environments. I believe inadequate staffing is one of the most complex global issues nursing faces.

Education: Organizations need to create supportive structured orientations for novice nurses and nurses transitioning to different areas of nursing. Nurses want professional development and growth opportunities.

Leadership: Nurse leaders need leadership training like nurses transitioning into any other specialty. There needs to be more nursing leadership training. Nurse leaders need to lead with more empathy and kindness. We desperately need diverse leaders.

Racism in healthcare: There are many issues surrounding racism in healthcare that are deeply rooted in structural racism. We need more nurses to be involved in policy on a national level. The nursing profession must create strong nurse advocates that challenge the status quo. There needs to be more diversity in the nursing workforce and more grants/scholarships. We need more diverse faculty in nursing academia.

Mental health: Mental health is such an important topic in healthcare. There has been more attention and efforts to mitigate burnout. Even though I loved working in the emergency department, there came a point after 13 years that I was feeling the burnout. In my doctoral studies, I created a toolkit with stress reduction strategies for nurses. Wellness remains the number one priority for nurses.

Compensation: Nurses need to get paid more, PERIOD. Nurses need better benefits, more days off, and flexible schedules.

As a nursing leader, how are you working to overcome this challenge?

My contribution to improving the complexities of these challenges is to bring awareness to them and advocate, educate, coach, and mentor them. I can make an impact by educating nurses by speaking at events, networking, and being on various nursing media. Sharing my own personal nursing journey and experiences can help the new generation of nurses.

What nursing leader inspires you the most and why?

Dr. Katie Boston Leary inspires me because she is a true leader and advocate for our profession. She is a trailblazer who is fearless in her pursuit to address issues such as racism in healthcare. She is currently the Director of Nursing Programs at the American Nurses Association.

What inspirational message would you like to share with the next generation of nurses?

I want to tell Nurses that they can accomplish anything they want. Surrounding yourself with positive people and having multiple mentors is vital to success. Be a mentor and a mentee. You always have something to share, even as a nursing student.

Get involved in your community and professional nursing organizations. Networking will have a significant impact on your professional advancement. Do not be afraid to promote yourself and celebrate your accomplishments. Negotiate your salary. Learn to ask for what you want and need.

There is no right way or no one way. You do not have to do just one thing and be put in a box. Please do what YOU want to do. Do not listen to negativity. Nursing is the best profession in the world, with over 100 different roles! Nursing will open so many doors. No decision is final. Enjoy the journey and make an impact. Take care of yourself first.