Exhorting nursing staff and leadership to pay attention to the need for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is all well and good, but how do you put into practice ways and methods that make DEI a reality?practical-dei

It all starts with self-reflection,” according to Danielle McCamey, DNP, ACNP-BC, FCCP, assistant dean of strategic partnerships at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing in Baltimore. We have to truly take an honest inventory of where we are on our respective journeys and where our biases show up in our practices.” McCamey is the founder/CEO of DNPs of Color, an initiative to create and nurture a community of doctor of nursing practice (DNP)-prepared nurses of color.

Having gained that awareness and accepting that you will make mistakes, educate yourself and step outside your comfort zone, she says. Take inventory of what your circle of friends’influence looks like. Do they represent diverse perspectives and voices? What positions of power and privilege do you hold, and how do you take up space for yourself? How do you show up and advocate for others who may not share the same level of privilege?”

Most important, she notes, is to, Take action. Utilize your skills, knowledge, and position. If you see something isnt right, say something. You might save a life in that moment or give someone the gift of recognizing their areas of growth to do better.”

Nurse leaders, she notes, can work to implement DEI policies by including different voices and perspectives at the table to speak on policies. The more buy-in you have on different levels, the more people will feel included and engaged, and they will work to ensure that DEI culture and policies achieve their intended goals.”

See also
University of Florida College of Nursing to Increase Diversity with New Director

Nurse leaders can advance DEI in various ways, according to Margaret Rosenzweig, PhD, CRNP-C, AOCNP, FAAN, distinguished service professor of nursing and professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing. They include:

  • Ensuring that the vision for DEI is shared and active.
  • Educating staff and colleagues on how to address bias and promote DEI.
  • Create events and space for hospital staff to work with the community in assessing needs and promoting health. 

According to Crystal Beckford, chief nursing officer (CNO), recruitment and retention of a diverse nursing workforce are key to DEI efforts at Luminis Health Doctors Community Medical Center in Lanham, Maryland. Some 83% of the nursing staff is now diverse.

Weve made a concentrated effort to speak, teach, coach, and mentor at area nursing schools, historically black colleges and universities, and community colleges,” notes Beckford. Our efforts include offering internship opportunities for students that hopefully lead to future employment.”

She notes that this year, she worked closely with the Maryland Hospital Association, nursing leaders, and state lawmakers to pass legislation to create a Pathway to Nursing Pilot Program.  Across several pilot sites at community colleges, the program will provide support services to Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) to lower attrition rates, increase the number of LPNs and potentially the number of Registered Nurses, and advance educational partnerships with local health systems, according to Beckford.

In addition, Beckford notes that monthly Coming To The Table” sessions provide a platform for candid conversations that celebrate diversity and encourage mutual understanding. Moreover, the hospital fosters belonging and professional development through several Business Resource Groups (BRGs), with the African American BRG being the largest. These groups offer networking, mentorship, and advocacy spaces, empowering employees to thrive in an inclusive environment.

See also
Improving Diversity in Graduate Nurse Anesthesia Programs

McCamey received the AACN Pioneering Spirit Award in May, at the National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition. 

Louis Pilla
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