Throughout its more than 50-year history, the National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA) has been a pioneer in embracing racial, cultural and gender diversity in the nursing profession. To cite just a few examples: NSNA created the Breakthrough to Nursing minority recruitment program in 1964 during the civil rights era, elected its first African-American male president (the late Cleo Doster) in 1976 and raised funds during the 1950s to help increase access to nursing education for students in Ethiopia and China.
This year, the tradition continues: At its 51st Annual Convention held this past spring in Phoenix, the association elected a 2003-2004 Board of Directors that made history as the most diverse NSNA governing body ever. The 10-member board–made up of student nurses attending schools in locations ranging from Kentucky and Florida to Utah and Hawaii–includes three men and five people of color. In addition, two of the four members of the newly elected 2003-2004 Nominating and Elections Committee are minority students.
Also at the 2003 convention, NSNA’s Board of Delegates passed several resolutions directly related to diversity and minority health issues. They include:
- Raising awareness of the plight of the uninsured and demonstrating broad support for action on the issue
- Protection for volunteerism by medical personnel caring for the underserved and underinsured
- Addressing the nursing shortage through recruitment and retention of men into the profession
- Cultural competence education in nursing curricula
- Increased education and awareness of health care professionals and diabetic patients regarding the need for assessment and care of the diabetic foot.
If you’re a nursing student who would like to find out more about NSNA, visit the association’s Web site at www.nsna.org.
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