Once upon a time, in the not-so-distant past, nurses were perceived as people whose job consisted of following orders, and nurses who were racial or ethnic minorities were routinely steered toward dead-end jobs with little hope of advancement. Nowadays, of course, the picture is much brighter. In today’s complex, technologically advanced and bottom-line-obsessed health care industry, opportunities for recognizing the natural leadership abilities of nursing professionals in general, and minority nurses in particular, are growing by leaps and bounds.

“Nurses of color have come of age,” says Edelia de Venecia-Mendoza, MSN, RN. “They are leaders, managers and followers, as well. The public depends on them for leadership and service. Patients today are more ethnically diverse and more members of the health care team are involved in decision-making. The decision-making process is decentralized and more nurses have a part in the decision. I am a believer that leadership is everybody’s business.”

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