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.
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.
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.
You may not naturally think of becoming a nurse executive, which may seem far removed from the bedside and benefiting patients. Yet, you can significantly impact patient care as a nurse executive, such as a chief nursing officer.
“When you’re caring for patients, as a nurse, you’re caring for a set cadre of individuals,” says Elizabeth Speakman, EdD, RN, FNAP, ANEF, FAAN, senior associate dean, professor, and chief academic officer, School of Nursing, University of Delaware. “When you’re in a leadership role in the clinical environment, you may have thousands of patients you are responsible for.”
If that appeals to you, read on. In this article, we’ll examine a few programs available to prepare for the nurse executive role.
Students at the 28-month program “typically come with a master’s degree already and have some experience at a leadership level,” according to Kimberly Nerud, PhD, RN, dean at Post University’s American Sentinel College of Nursing and Health Sciences. Perhaps they have worked as a charge nurse or directed a healthcare unit, and “they’re looking to build on those skills that will help prepare them for those advanced opportunities within a healthcare system.”
At the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University, students who want to pursue a role as a nurse executive can choose from a range of programs, according to Joyce J. Fitzpatrick, PhD, MBA, RN, FAAN, Elizabeth Brooks Ford professor of nursing, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing and distinguished university professor, Case Western. Those programs include a doctoral program with an executive focus and a postdoctoral and senior executive program. These programs are housed within Case Western’s Marian K. Shaughnessy Nurse Leadership Academy.
Although students need a doctoral degree to enter the postdoctoral program, for instance, the academy believes that “every nurse is a leader,” notes Dr. Fitzpatrick. “Our philosophy is you’ve already got the leadership skills. You may not know how you have been leading, but you have been leading as a clinical nurse.”
For example, Dr. Fitzpatrick notes, “Nurses are leading care at the bedside for the patient. They’re leading care for the patient’s families. So as they become nurses, they learn to lead in clinical care. We capitalize on the experiences they’ve already had as clinical nurses and help them to understand how they’ve been leading all along.”
The school emphasizes a relationship-based leadership model, according to Dr. Fitzpatrick. That includes components such as communication, executive presence, intentional communication, and helping the leader understand any individual’s influence in a leadership role.
The academy, says Dr. Fitzpatrick, is especially interested in identifying individuals to join the program who come from under-represented groups. The school also seeks to engage minority nurses in mentoring the next generation.
According to Dr. Speakman, nurses considering executive leadership positions can benefit by focusing on two actions. First, “they need to know that leadership is not just your title. Leadership can be very informal. How you lead is more important than your position. How you hold yourself pedagogically in life and how you present yourself. I think that’s the first and foremost conversation.”
The second involves earning what Dr. Speakman calls “stackable credentials.” That can include fellowships, earning certificates, and joining leadership programs – gaining new skills. Another word of advice: “Before you decide you want to be the top executive, spend time with the top executive.”
Leading After COVID
In considering a role as a nurse executive, know that COVID took a toll on nurse leaders, making the need to prepare nurses for executive roles even more important. Dr. Nerud hopes that “we can help to rebuild that area of nurse leadership that decided to take a step back or step out or retire early because of all of the demands that came from the pandemic.”
Dr. Nerud stresses the need to have nurse executives view problems from a policy perspective “that we’re helping these leaders go in to help be able to think fast and be able to talk about the policies that need to be made to move quickly because we learned during the pandemic that that was huge. We needed to be able to focus on quick changes and quick policies and quick things that needed to happen.”
During the pandemic, leaders faced significant challenges, notes Dr. Fitzpatrick, as did clinical nurses. “We need to continue recruiting nurses into leadership roles because the challenges are still there,” she says.
Even though the worst of the pandemic is over, we still have to rebuild and revitalize the clinical systems,” says Dr. Fitzpatrick. “We want to be sure that we focus on nurses staying in the workplace, which falls to the leader. We know from the research that if you have good leaders, you have higher nurse satisfaction–that leadership is key to keeping the clinical nurses engaged.”
“There is No Box”
Nurse executives and leaders have opportunities in traditional healthcare systems, industries, and corporations. “We shouldn’t just think of nurse leaders being positioned in the traditional healthcare environments, but engaging them outside of the traditional healthcare environments into executive positions in corporations as well as in community health,” says Dr. Fitzpatrick.
“The potential is unlimited because nurses come with skills that help them to help others. I like to teach my students, we often talk about thinking outside the box, but what we try to communicate to our nurse leaders is there is no box.”
The World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, held in Chicago, was known for many things: the World’s Fair that inspired the blockbuster book The Devil in the White City, where the first Ferris wheel premiered, and where the National League for Nursing (NLN) began.
The superintendent at Johns Hopkins Training School in Baltimore, Isabel Hampton, headed the group of superintendents at the fair. Together, they laid the groundwork for the first nursing association in the United States: the American Society of Superintendents of Training Schools of Nursing.
The name changed twice. First to the National League of Nursing Education in 1912 and finally to the National League for Nursing in 1952.
“The mission is to promote excellence in nursing education to build a strong and diverse nursing workforce to advance the health of the nation and the global community,” says Beverly Malone, PhD, RN, FAAN, President and CEO of NLN.
According to Malone, the NLN was founded because, at the time, there were no boundaries, criteria, or standards regarding how nursing should be taught. “In the United States, it was going on your own. Everybody determined what would be taught, and the public deserved to know the criteria,” she says.
“It’s the same issues we have now,” Malone continues. “The public deserves transparency regarding the quality of nurses’ preparations. We were stretching beyond being the doctors’ handmaid. So, how does one stretch to become a professional? You start determining your standards. Not only would we determine them, we would live by them and operationalize them. That’s what the National League for Nursing started with, and that’s what we continue to do.”
The NLN Today
The NLN offers services for over 45,000 individuals and more than 1,000 institutional members.
In addition to its mission, Malone says that the NLN is also guided by its four core values: caring, integrity, diversity and inclusion, and excellence.
Malone explains what the first and last core values mean to the organization. “Caring promotes health, healing, and hope in response to the human condition. I think hope is something that we don’t appreciate enough,” she says. “The ‘excellence’ piece is cocreating and implementing transformative strategies with daring ingenuity. We don’t do anything by ourselves. We are into cocreating and co-implementing, and then transformation.”
The NLN offers members professional development, networking, assessment services, nursing research grants, and public policy advocacy. Regarding professional development, the NLN accomplishes this through a variety of centers.
The Center for the Advancement of the Science of Nursing Education, Malone says, deals with the scientific background for nursing education. While patients are expected to receive evidence-based care, that starts with nursing students receiving evidence-based education.
“With technology moving as fast as it is, we must understand the scientific basis for nursing education,” says Malone. “This distinguishes the National League for Nursing’s belief in the evidence-based.”
In addition, the NLN has a division for credentialing nurse educators. To date, about 15,000 nurse educators have received credentials. They have a certification for clinical educators and credentialing for newly-developed nurse educators.
“I believe that this is so critical to the nursing profession of holding us not just accountable, but also providing an opportunity for recognition,” says Malone.
The NLN’s Center for Transformational Leadership provides nurses with education regarding leadership, and its Center for the Innovation in Education Excellence gives education about simulation and technology and how it will be incorporated into the teaching and education of nurses.
Malone says these exceptional programs for nurse educators make the NLN crucial. “We believe wholeheartedly that unless you address the issues for nurse educators, including salary, the nursing shortage continues,” she says.
The National League for Nursing offers so much more for nursing educators. For additional information, check out their website.
The nursing industry has dozens of professional associations devoted to the art and science of nursing care and nursing specialties. And while many nurses know they exist, they may need to realize the depth of what associations do and how the skills and connections developed through membership can advance a career in ways they never expected.
American Nurses Association (ANA) president Jennifer Mensik Kennedy, PhD, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, says joining an association is an excellent professional move, and membership carries personal benefits that are just as critical. “Many people don’t consider that when they join the ANA or an association of another specialty, that they are advocating for the profession,” she says. “We are protecting our profession or specialty.”
Adrianna Nava, PhD, MPA, MSN, RN, and National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN) president, agrees. “Membership is important in the world of advocacy because it makes our footprint within the policy world bigger,” she says. “We grow in the ability to influence. So even if you feel like being a member isn’t an active form of involvement, it is; you are being counted when association leaders are advocating for change. We represent you, and you count.”
Be an Active Member
If you want to get the most from any professional association membership, active participation helps you and the organization. Even if your busy schedule leaves little time to devote, you can find something that will fit your schedule. Sign up for any newsletters and read them. Attend webinars, seminars, and conferences as you are able. “NAHN doesn’t have a chapter in every state yet, so if you don’t have a local chapter, I would encourage you to reach out to the national organization and connect with other members who live in your area,” says Nava. “Our national organization also has national committees, and volunteering for a committee is another way to become engaged.”
With so many nursing professional associations out there, it’s not hard to find the most appealing one. “Review the organization’s mission, vision, values, and goals to determine which organization may best fit your professional needs,” says Nava.” Do these align with your values and goals? If so, this organization may be a good fit, and you will find other nurses to collaborate with to meet those goals and stay engaged.”
There are many opportunities to get involved, but not all involve nursing skills. Associations need you to reach out to legislators or members of Congress, help produce newsletters, or advance fundraising efforts. “When you’re in an organization, it’s about the organization as a whole, and it’s not nursing specific,” says Kennedy.
All Nurses Are Welcome and Needed
Associations don’t require years of nursing experience for membership. Nurses across the entire career spectrum can learn from each other. “I often hear from students that they are too busy to join an association,” says Ann Kriebel-Gasparro, DrNP, FNP, GNP, FAANP, and president-elect of the Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association (GAPNA). “And yet, this is the best time to join. Membership fees are often lower, there are opportunities for growth, and later on in your career trajectory, you may want to run for a state or national office in that organization. The opportunities are many–most associations/organizations offer scholarships, travel, and speaking opportunities, and networking connections are especially important.”
“A misconception is that novice nurses have nothing to contribute, which is a myth,” Kim Regis, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, CPNP-PC, BCC, and a member ofthe American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing (AAACN). “The voices of all generations must be at the table so that policies, practices, and standards reflect everyone working in the profession and the communities we serve.”
Regardless of where you are in your career, Kennedy says that mentoring plays a big role in many nursing associations. Whether you are a new nurse looking for guidance from a mentor or a more experienced nurse who can share your expertise and mentor someone else, a nursing association offers excellent opportunities to do both.
All the skills you acquire, and your work in an organization will also help advance your career. You may have yet to gain formal management experience, but if you have led an education campaign, board member, or committee in your organization, that gives you hands-on experience.
Nurses can also add to their knowledge and grow into leadership roles within an association. “Joining a nursing organization is a great way to expand your skill set within leadership, advocacy, research, and clinical practice,” says Nava.
The personal connections you’ll form in an association membership are also professionally valuable. “This is how you learn of job opportunities, fellowships, and academic opportunities,” says Nava. “Also, members and leaders within organizations, through your engaged involvement, will end up being the people who mentor you, or sponsor you, or write letters of recommendation for you, to advance your career.”
Nurses also know the opportunities they find through an association membership are often the kind they would not have found any other way. “As a new member [of AAACN], I had many doors opened to get involved in various committees and task forces,” says Andrea Petrovanie-Green CAPT(Ret), NC, USN, RN, MSN, AMB-BC, and a member of the leadership team supporting AAACN. “These experiences helped hone my leadership, management, and clinical acumen. As a result, I authored a white paper that established the first Specialty Leader in Ambulatory Care Nursing for the Navy Nurse Corps. Another unique opportunity I am grateful for was co-chairing the Tri-Service Military annual symposium. During networking events, I was introduced to several influential and inspiring leaders who mentored me to pursue additional opportunities. I subsequently served as a member of the nominating committee and currently as a director.”
Both Nava and Kennedy credit their association memberships with advancing their careers.
“I joined my first association because my aunt encouraged me to join with her our local Illinois Chapter of NAHN when I was a first-year nurse,” says Nava, noting the small chapter gave her opportunities to take on leadership roles including, eventually, president. “My ability to work with others and build a team, something I learned early on, has helped me grow and become the leader I am today as the national president of NAHN.”
Kennedy says she was starting her PhD when she first heard of the ANA. One of her classmates was the executive director of the Arizona ANA and asked Kennedy if she was a member. “I joined that day,” she says with a laugh, eventually becoming president of the Arizona ANA. As needs arose, she helped out and got involved, learning new skills along the way and developing close personal connections. “That’s what helped me most in my career,” she says, joining an association. “We need new individuals to carry on the profession. They must be involved to keep our profession and specialties strong.”
Kriebel-Gasparro says membership in an organization gives nurses leverage on areas they care deeply about. “This is why I belong to the Nurses of PA organization and offer my time to advocate for safe staffing and other issues,” she says.
Associations know policymakers without nursing experience are making critical, industry-impacting decisions. It takes nurses with lived experience and a passion for excellent nursing practice to move into roles where they can make those decisions.
“With over four million nurses in the United States and greater than 80 percent of those employed in the field, it is imperative that a unified voice, with a unified message, is brought forth on many of the issues that impact practice and the health of our communities in which we work,” says Regis. “The bottom line: there is a professional organization for everyone to find a home where they belong. If a nurse has not found a good fit where they are, it is almost guaranteed that there is one out there somewhere that will pour into them with mentorship and development. Don’t miss your opportunity to take your career to the highest level.”
As National Nurses Week 2023 begins its celebration of nurses around the world, nurses everywhere will look forward to the future of nursing while also honoring nursing history and all the nurses who came before them.
Nurses in the AAHN are committed to a diverse range of topics that piece together the broad, remarkable, and often unrecognized work of nurses in history. Dr. Graham-Perel shared her nursing research experience with Minority Nurse and encourages other nurses to follow those questions they have about the nurses who paved the way.
Can you please tell me about your research and how you became interested in pursuing it?
My research focuses on the lack of racial diversity in nursing education and its direct impact on our diverse patient population. I realized there was a lack of racial diversity throughout my nursing education journey, this includes my associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and ultimately, doctoral degrees in nursing. I recognized that I was searching for someone who I could identify with (someone who looked like me and shared my culture) in all of those programs, it was a consistent challenge to do so. In my doctoral degree, I wanted to dig deeper into why this was a problem. Honestly, I was committed to making this research a quantitative venture, however, I realized there were more questions than answers–and that led me to historical research.
I was incredibly fortunate to meet Dr. Sandra (Sandy) Lewenson at Teachers College Columbia University, who introduced our doctoral cohort to historical research. Dr. Lewenson made me realize my love for nursing history and served as my dissertation chair. For my dissertation, I wanted to uncover why there was a lack of racial diversity in nursing education and practice. When did this start? What caused this deficiency and what can be done to correct it? The questions went on and on.
I “peeled the layers back” far enough to discover the first school of nursing established in NYC to educate Black women in nursing, that is, the Lincoln School for Nurses (LSN) of the Bronx, N.Y., 1898 to 1961. Now, out of all my years of schooling and years being an RN, I have never heard of this school. I was ashamed and frustrated at this fact. I conducted a historical investigation on the school, the graduates, and their impact on the health of Black patients.
My research continues as I conduct oral histories of living graduates of LSN. The Lincoln School for Nurses has a beautiful and enriched history that should be acknowledged and celebrated. It is my honor to share it as a nurse historian.
What is most rewarding about researching the history of nursing?
What is most rewarding about researching the history of nursing is filling in the blanks. I had so many questions (I honestly still do), but when you uncover an answer or a link to an answer, it is extremely fulfilling. I get to teach others about historical truths that were hidden from us or simply not included in nursing history.
How did the AAHN help your nursing history work?
When I joined AAHN, it was like finally finding my niche! They were helpful in guiding me with the principles of nursing history and how to efficiently conduct historical research. For example, I served as a co-investigator on the oral history of Dr. Bernardine Mays Lacey, conducted by Dr. Lewenson. We did receive AAHN funding for the oral history (which was published in AJN August 2020) and the film that was subsequently produced.
Lastly, AAHN mentorship is a definite asset of being a member. History is special; finding others who are just as passionate and excited about nursing history and are willing to mentor scholars in the arts of history is one of the greatest gifts of the AAHN.
How will your historical research efforts help broaden and enrich the nursing communities you are in?
My historical research broadens and enriches nursing academia by highlighting historical discriminatory practices that led to the deficiencies in the racial diversity of nursing. Investigating the lack of diversity in nursing education presented truths about how this impacts the recruitment, retention, and ultimate success rates of diverse nursing students.
My continued goal with historical research is to present discriminatory practices, or remnants of such practices, that are still present in our nursing profession and corrective recommendations for our future generations of nurses.
What would you want other nurses to know about this kind of work and why you might encourage them to pursue their own research projects into the history of nursing?
It is essential for all nurses to know that in order to achieve a professional identity, one must know their history. One of Marcus Garvey’s famous quotes relates to this sentiment. He stated, “A people without the knowledge of their past, history, origin and culture, is like a tree without roots.”
Nursing history is essential to understanding our profession, how we became to be, and how our past influences what lies ahead. I encourage nurses to include history in their research (no matter what type of research you are conducting), for there is not one facet of research that is not impacted by nursing history. Lastly, I encourage my peers to remember that if you have more questions than answers, history is the route to take!