Why Finding a Nursing Community Is Important

Why Finding a Nursing Community Is Important

Busy nurses dont always seek out professional organizations or groups dedicated to nursing, and for valid reasons. They need more time or energy to devote to a group, the meetings are inconvenient, or they see it as an extension of work. However, joining a nursing community is one of the most powerful personal and career moves a nurse can make.why-finding-a-nursing-community-is-important

“The importance of community is relevant to nurses at all levels of their careers,” says Gloria E. Barrera, MSN, RN, PEL-CSN, a public health nurse who practices as a school nurse at a high school outside of Chicago. “The sense of community is a unifying force that fosters professional growth and enhances the overall impact of nursing practice.” 

For nurses identifying with a particular group, such as a minority nurse or a nursing specialty, being part of a community of nurses is validating. “The best advice that I was given was to join a professional nursing organization and then to join my specialty nursing organization,” says Barrera, who holds longtime membership in the American Nurses Association (where she is now the Executive Member of the Board) and the National Association of School Nurses.

Having a community that shares your experience, whether personal or professional, is vital to a sense of belonging in a group. “As a Latina nurse, it was important for me to join a professional organization that authentically represents the diversity of my community,” says Barrera. “We can’t be what we can’t see! Once we see others who look like us succeeding in their respective roles, it gives us a blueprint to continue on our journeys.”

Joining a group is excellent, but what happens if nothing fits what you’re looking for? For Danielle McCamey, DNP, CRNP, ACNP-BC, FCCP, starting a group was the answer. McCamey, founder, president, and CEO of DNPs of Color, started the organization several years ago. “I was trying to find that community when I was going through my doctoral program,” she says. Finding nothing that could offer support with a similar lived experience that McCamey had, she decided to create it. 

There is a shared language and a shared understanding that’s essential when you gather with other nurses. “A community helps offer you that validation you need,” says McCamey. “There is always someone who can say, ‘Here are some strategies to help you navigate that.’”

Joining a community offers opportunities and benefits that aren’t always obvious.” When looking at nurses from underprivileged backgrounds, the connections within a nursing community, especially through local chapters of professional organizations, can be most impactful,” says Barrera. “It gives these nurses access to financial resources, for example, scholarships, mentorship programs, and networking opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise be afforded them.”

And a nursing community where you feel a good fit is different. “We must develop a sense of belonging and support,” says Olga F. Jarrín, PhD, RN, FAAN, Hunterdon Professor of Nursing Research and Associate Professor, Division of Nursing Science at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and Adjunct Assistant Professor, the University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing. Jarrin co-founded the Latino Nurses Network with Paule Joseph, PhD, EMBA, MS, FNP-BC, FAAN, a decade ago because they sought other nurses who wanted to support and advocate for each other. “Nurses are dealing with high-stress situations that are emotionally demanding. It’s terrific to connect with other nurses and celebrate everyone’s success.”

Barrera agrees. “Community is important for several reasons,” she says. “Having professional support in the form of a networking community is critical to exchanging knowledge, best practices, and resource sharing.”

Nurses also say the support they find in a community of nurses extends both ways. McCamey notices that even as more senior nurses help lead, they also need guidance as they move through leadership roles and situations. An organization that supports all levels of nurses will have members who share their experiences, both good and bad, to help other nurses take steps that produce results or avoid any potential pitfalls.

Nurses interested in personal and professional connections will find that most groups offer both organically. “Communities provide nurses with opportunities for ongoing education and professional development, for example, workshops and seminars,” says Barrera.

Nurses can also have more impact as a group. For advocacy purposes, a larger group of nurses can accomplish more, and that satisfaction is motivating. A network or group that is workplace-based can work for change in policies and processes for your immediate needs, just as a group that isn’t isolated to one location or workplace can take on broader issues in the industry.

If you can’t find the community that best supports your goals and needs, you can start one. “Nurses are the epitome of innovators and creators,” says McCamey. “We identify gaps and create solutions.” If a nurse feels there is a community lacking in a certain space, there are likely others who feel the same.

“As you build that community, people will come,” says McCamey. “The key to success is networking.” That doesn’t mean showing up at social events and conferences, although those are tried-and-true networking methods. McCamey says the pandemic removed barriers and that lets nurses form connections more easily. “You can reach out to people and ask for a conversation, and it’s socially acceptable,” she says. Before the pandemic, the rules around outreach were more rigid, but now nurses have new opportunities. Use texting, group chat, social media groups, or even academic institutions to help make the desired connections.

McCamey feels the need for connection deeply, saying that if a community like DNPs of Color can help make one nurse’s journey easier, that’s essential. “Life is better in a community,” she says. “It is always inspiring to see people get nursing fires relit.”

Finding the right nursing community can make a difference between staying in the field and leaving it for nurses who feel especially burned out or isolated. “It reduces feelings of isolation,” says Jarrin. “It feels good to share accomplishments and successes. Sometimes, it’s hard to draw attention to your achievements, but in a supportive community, it’s viewed as celebrating success. There’s a sense of, ‘We’re doing this together.’”

Recognizing GI Nurses and Associates’ Work

Recognizing GI Nurses and Associates’ Work

This week honors GI Nurses and Associates Week, the annual tribute to GI nurses that the Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates (SGNA) has celebrated for more than a decade.Eileen Duaz, GI nurse

Gastroenterology (GI) nurses treat and often diagnose patients who have symptoms and conditions related to the entire digestive tract. The spectrum of GI symptoms is nuanced and can have a big impact on quality of life for patients, so GI nurses listen carefully to help patients most effectively. They are also emotional sounding boards and supports for their patients as they cope with navigating their conditions.

SGNA Board President Eileen Dauz, BSN, RN, CGRN, CFER, CER recently shared some of her thoughts on being a GI nurse with Minority Nurse. In addition to her SGNA leadership, Dauz is a clinical nurse manager at  Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital.

How did you choose a career path as a GI nurse?
I knew from the time that I was very young that nursing was something I wanted to do with my life. However, it was not until about10 years into my nursing career that I found my niche in Gastroenterology (GI) and Endoscopy nursing. The catalyst for this change was after I observed a well-seasoned endoscopy team seamlessly and effectively work together to treat a patient profusely bleeding from a ruptured esophageal varix. This brought back memories of my childhood years living in a remote region of a developing country where people die from lack of access to advanced medicine. Upper gastrointestinal bleeding was one of the common culprits. This team ensured their patient would have a different outcome and saved his life. This experience inspired me to become a GI/endoscopy nurse.

What is especially fulfilling about being a GI nurse?
Being a nurse is one of the most challenging jobs someone could do. It is physically and mentally demanding at times. However, at the end of the day, I feel a sense of fulfillment and pride, knowing that I have influenced someone’s life for the better. It does not have to be patients all the time. It may be a patient’s family member, a colleague, or a visitor. The best part of it all is that I get many opportunities to repeatedly provide the best care every day that I work. Nursing is a calling. I love the culture of nursing in my endoscopy unit. Everyone is working cohesively together in an atmosphere of mutual support.

What are some of the latest developments in GI nursing that are exciting?
The technological advancements in gastroenterology and endoscopy have opened up new ways of achieving better patient outcomes in our field, effectively and efficiently. Our instruments and tools are becoming more innovative, allowing more minimally invasive procedures to be performed in the Endoscopy suite. An example is peroral endoscopic myotomy (POEM). This is a non-surgical procedure to treat swallowing disorders caused by muscle spasms in the esophagus. POEM uses an endoscope that is inserted through the mouth to cut and loosen muscles in the esophagus, preventing them from tightening and interfering with swallowing.

What do people not realize about this specialty?
We play a crucial role in maintaining our patient’s digestive health and addressing various gastrointestinal disorders from the mouth to the rectum. We are not pigeonholed into doing just one role in the GI specialty. In the hospital setting, you have the opportunity to work in the different phases of care. In some practice settings, nurses also assist the endoscopist directly with tools and gadgets during a procedure.

Do you have any advice for nurses who are considering the GI nursing career path?
My first and foremost advice for nurses who are considering the GI nursing career path is to do your research to learn more about what this specialty entails. GI nursing is not for the faint of heart. If possible, network with GI professionals in your Endoscopy unit and seek opportunities to shadow a case or two and follow a patient through the different phases of care. Some facilities offer GI nurse internships or residencies.

How has your SGNA membership helped your career?
My return on investment for the membership fees that I have paid SGNA has been exponential. SGNA has invested in my substantive leadership growth starting in the regional arena many years ago as chapter president, to where I am today as the national president. As a subject matter expert in this specialty, I was a nurse participant in the international endoscope expert hygiene meetings held in Amsterdam (2022), Baltimore (2023), and in Ireland for June 2024. As a clinical nurse manager, SGNA has empowered me to stay up to date on current evidence-based practices. Through SGNA, I have access to practice documents, educational and professional development resources that I can use for team on boarding, training, and learning events.

More importantly, my SGNA membership allows me to connect and network with approximately 5000 GI nursing professionals, associates, and industry representatives dedicated to improving their practice and advancing the GI specialty.

Nursing Certification: Achieving Excellence and Professionalism

Nursing Certification: Achieving Excellence and Professionalism

In the world of nursing, certifications and their corresponding designations carry with them the concepts of excellence, professionalism, and focused dedication to career growth. Not all nurses pursue certification during their years of service in healthcare, but many hear the call and take inspired action to achieve such a goal.nursing-certification-achieving-excellence-and-professionalism

Making an effort to become certified in your nursing specialty is like doubling down on your skills and knowledge. Doing this takes discipline and forward-thinking, demonstrating that you care enough to show the world that nursing excellence and professional mastery matter.

Every year on March 19th, we celebrate National Certified Nurses Day to honor the nurses who take their careers to the next level by becoming certified. This celebration encourages us to take a moment to acknowledge the role that certification plays in strengthening the nursing profession while improving care and patient outcomes. Being certified is meaningful, and we make meaning by pausing for the cause of reflection and recognition of the nurses who choose this path.

Nursing Certification 101

According to the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN), the first nursing certification was issued in 1945 to recognize nurse anesthetists. Certification boards began to be created in the 1960s, and the number of available nursing certifications continues to grow to this day.

Many nurses choose to pursue certification of their own volition, while some employers may encourage or even require nurses in specific specialty areas to become certified. Having your employer pay for and support your certification goals can be a desirable benefit, especially if your certification process has a financial cost you’d rather not bear yourself.

The American Nurse Credentialing Center (ANCC) offers various certification pathways, as do the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation (AHNCC), the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board (AANPCB), and numerous other nursing organizations and associations.

A 2021 Journal of Nursing Administration study states, “Nurse specialty certification is ’a mechanism for validation or formal recognition by documenting individual nurses’ knowledge, skills, and abilities specific to their specialty’. It is a form of individual credentialing above and beyond entry-level education and licensing. By pursuing specialty certification, nurses exhibit a commitment to professional growth and lifelong learning while establishing competency in a specialized area of care such as oncology or medical-surgical nursing. The intended outcome of certification in nursing is to improve safety, quality of care, and health outcomes for those using healthcare services.”

Popular certifications include:

No matter what certification you choose to pursue, rest assured that being certified is something to be proud of and to clearly and proudly document on your resume as a mark of nursing distinction and professional mastery.

Why Should You Consider Becoming a Certified Nurse

As mentioned above, certification is a demonstration of dedication to your area of specialty nursing practice. Being certified can serve many purposes and brings with it a variety of benefits, including:

  • Marketability: Being certified can make you a stronger candidate in the job market, especially if it sets you apart from non-certified applicants for the same positions.
  • Career mobility: Some employers may value nursing certifications very highly, with certified nurses more likely to advance on the organization’s clinical ladder or into positions of greater responsibility, including nursing leadership.
  • Respect and recognition: Certification can elicit in others a sense of respect for and recognition of your professionalism, expert knowledge, and skill.
  • Personal/professional pride: Certification may elicit pride in your expertise, mastery, and accomplishments as a dedicated nurse.

Certification is a feather in your nurse’s cap. It marks you as a nurse focused on career growth and expert skill and knowledge. By being certified, you benefit not only your career but also inspire others to follow in your footsteps and contribute to the improved quality of patient care, not to mention strengthen your employer’s organizational profile.

Certification Speaks Volumes

Having one or more nursing certifications speaks volumes about your professionalism and desire to develop yourself as a nurse of integrity and mastery. Being certified says a great deal about you, and your certifications can enhance your ability to advance your career in any direction you’d like to go.

Some nurses may sit on their laurels and do the bare minimum, while others may seize the day and take every opportunity to develop themselves professionally. Only you can decide if the path to certification is right for you based on your perception of the benefits of certification and the value of that process to your career.

In recognition of Certified Nurses Day, let’s acknowledge those nurses who’ve stepped up to the plate and taken on certification as a prospect worthy of their attention and hard work. And if you’re already certified, give yourself a pat on the back for going the extra mile and showing the world that you’re a nurse who wants to be the best you can be.

Organizations and Events: A Supportive Community Where Black Nurses Can Find Resources

Organizations and Events: A Supportive Community Where Black Nurses Can Find Resources

Nurses need a supportive community to thrive in their field, especially nurses of color, mainly because of a lack of Black representation in the field. Caucasian nurses make up around 80% of the total nursing workforce, but Black nurses only comprise 6% of total registered nurses.

However, nurses are influential in advocating for minority communities and reducing healthcare disparities around the world. These same nurses are also ones who may still face racism at the workplace or struggle to find a sense of belonging with other nurses who share the same struggles, but that’s where these organizations can come in.black-nurses-community-organizations-and-events

Joining a Black nursing organization or attending an event focused on diversity and celebration for Black nursing can foster community and engagement. Plus, these organizations also bring a level of professionalism to your career.

If this sounds promising, then these resources could be for you. Learn some of the most active Black nursing events and organizations today.

Black Nurses Rock

Black Nurses Rock is one of the largest minority nursing organizations in the country, representing nurses across the world with over 174,000 nurses and nurse students from the USA, Canada, the Eastern Caribbean, Japan, and Germany.

The organization also has an active online community on social media. Nurses who want to learn more or start with a nursing organization can join their closed Facebook group, a popular forum that shares advice and stories from nurses across the county.

If you’re a student, one of the benefits of becoming a member of Black Nurses Rock is that you can apply for scholarships, awards, and discounts on university tuition. There are also local chapters in over 25 states so that nurses can get connected and network.

National Black Nurses Association

Founded in 1971, the National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) is one of the oldest nursing organizations, with over 200,000 members. They focus on ensuring their members have equal access to healthcare opportunities, education, and professional growth.

They have different membership levels for registered nurses, licensed nurse practitioners, and students, with benefits such as association partnerships with other federal and national organizations and speaking engagements at national conferences.

Members can also attend their annual summer conference to see exhibitors for employment opportunities and attend sessions with prominent speakers on diabetes, breast cancer, women’s health, cardiovascular health, and more.

Look at their chapter directory to see if there’s a chapter near you

NCEMNA (National Coalition of Ethnic Minority Nurse Associations)

The National Coalition of Ethnic Minority Nurse Associations (NCEMNA) is a nonprofit made up of the largest five-member organizations for nurses:

  • The NBNA
  • The Philippine Nurses Association of America (PNAA)
  • Asian American/Pacific Islander Nurses Association (AAPINA)
  • The National Alaska Native American Indian Nurses Association (NANAINA)

Its goal is to create a unified community with other nurses of color for more culturally appropriate health care and to foster alliances with other professional organizations.

Individual nurses cannot apply, but if you’re a member of any of the five member organizations, you can access NCEMNA’s resources through their sign-up page. NCEMNA is active in health equity and policy advocacy, and its annual conference centers around public policy solutions and speakers with experience in social justice and health disparities among the BIPOC community.

Black Nurses Week

From July 26 to August 1, Black Nurses Week is a conference dedicated to uplifting the Black nursing community professionally and personally. Black Nurses Week was founded by Tauquilla Manning, a nurse travel leader who saw a need for an event like this after being told at work that her natural hairstyle was unprofessional.

Since 2022, the nationwide event has focused on business, health, and wealth, putting Black nurses at the center as they learn from nurse leaders on topics such as entrepreneurship, financial wellness, and healthcare. This year’s Black Nurses Week will be held in Washington, D.C., allowing attendees to attend sessions with nurse leaders, earn continuing education credits, and meet fellow nurses through daily breakfast and coffee breaks.

Black Nurses Meet

Black Nurses Meet is an online community and website for Black nurses to find resources and advice to help their careers. Black travel nurses especially can find this community helpful for sharing healthcare-related tips and advice online.

Their memberships are cost-friendly, with their lowest tier at only $25 for nurses and nurse influencers who want to build their content. For nurses who don’t like to spend money, their Instagram account offers tips on burnout and career motivation for Black nurses.

Although Black Nurses Meet is primarily active on social media, they also have in-person events such as their yearly gala designed for the professional community and their travel group trips with other Black nurses.

National Black Nurses Association Moving 2024 Conference Out of Florida

National Black Nurses Association Moving 2024 Conference Out of Florida

The National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) released a statement regarding the association’s decision to pull its 2024 Conference out of Florida.

Following a survey of our membership, today the National Black Nurses Association, Inc (NBNA) is publicly announcing its decision to move its 52nd Institute and Conference, originally scheduled to be held at the Diplomat Beach Resort (A Hilton Branded Property) in Hollywood, Florida from July 24th – 28th, 2024 to San Francisco, California from July 23 – 28, 2024.

Our primary reason for this cancellation and move is our duty to ensure the safety and well-being of NBNA members, given the current political and social climate in Florida. The passage of anti-Black policies and laws, which have taken a destructive position to erase and silence Black history and restrict diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in Florida schools, together with the NAACP travel ban and the recent senseless, racially motivated, hate-fueled murders of three innocent Black Americans in Jacksonville, Florida has created a hostile, dangerous environment in the state. Thus, as a Black-identified multigenerational professional nursing association, we cannot risk the safety or well-being of our members or subject them to unpredictable, unknown, and unconscionable threats to their life, liberty, and First Amendment rights. Also, policies, politics, and hostility perpetuated upon Black-identified and other marginalized peoples are in direct conflict with the NBNA mission and vision. Finally, as a member-driven association dedicated to uplifting and preserving life, our membership was resolute in this decision.

Our attempts in good faith to negotiate with the hotel property in Florida to reschedule our conference to a later year when the conditions would hopefully be safer for Black-identified groups like ours were unsuccessful. This would have avoided a huge cancelation fee, which NBNA will now have to adjudicate.

However, NBNA reaffirms its dedication to working tirelessly to fight social injustice in all its forms. We must develop tangible and practical ways to shift the path of this country toward the achievement of health equity for all Black communities. We join with other organizations and healthcare partners, imploring legislators to take urgent action to remove any laws that harm people and, most notably, those that intentionally, with hate and malice, plan the demise of persons based on their race. NBNA will unrelentingly advocate for policies so everyone can enjoy the privileges of public activities such as learning, worshipping, jogging, attending concerts, and shopping without the fear of being injured or murdered.

Lastly, we recognize the economic, political, and personal impacts that this decision will have on our association and local communities in Florida. Thus, we want to affirm the support of our ten NBNA chapters in Florida and the communities they serve. These chapters will continue their work to improve the lives of historically underserved and marginalized populations in Florida in keeping with our mission.

Dr. Paula Alexander-Delpech Named Chair-Elect of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leadership Network

Dr. Paula Alexander-Delpech Named Chair-Elect of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leadership Network

The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leadership Network (DEILN) named Frontier Nursing University Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Dr. Paula Alexander-Delpech, Ph.D., PMHNP-BC, APRN, as the network’s Chair-Elect.dr-paula-alexander-delpech-named-chair-elect-of-the-diversity-equity-and-inclusion-leadership-network

DEILN is a convening body to unite expertise, experience, and guidance for academic nursing in Leading Across Differences. This network collectively explores innovative approaches to enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in academic nursing and the nursing workforce.

DEILN supports the efforts of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and its more than 865 nursing schools and academic nursing at the local, regional, and national levels to advance diversity and inclusion.

These efforts include, but are not limited to:

  • Sharing evidence-based promising practices
  • Engaging with the membership
  • Providing consultative services
  • Convening networking forums

“I am honored to have been chosen as the Chair-Elect of DEILN,” says Dr. Alexander-Delpech. “This presents a wonderful collaborative opportunity for all members of DEILN and the institutions we represent to share our knowledge and experience to improve the effectiveness of our collective DEI efforts across the country.”

The goal of DEILN is to align its efforts with the strategic diversity goals and objectives of AACN and the larger nursing community. Membership in DEILN is open to all faculty, deans, and staff interested in advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion goals.

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