In our winter 2012 issue, we called for submissions to our first ever Take Pride Campaign, an effort to recognize those places of employment that went above and beyond regarding encouraging diversity; recruiting and retaining minorities; and creating a cooperative, inclusive work environment. We were so pleased with the response! Nurses, and even teams of nurses, recommended their places of employment to acknowledge such efforts. And the funny thing is, there is no prize. Not for our nominees nor for our nominators. Furthermore, there is no real winner. The only reward, per se, is their inclusion here. Then again, perhaps the reward is inherent—we’re just bringing it to light. We’re so glad these nurses found such inclusive places to call “home” (during their shifts, at least!). We hope the facilities continue to lead by example, and we are proud to recognize them here.

Alacare Home Health and Hospice, Muscle Shoals, Alabama

Nominated by LaConda Davenport, R.N., B.S.N., M.S.N., M.H.A.

In the five and a half years LaConda Davenport has been with Alacare Home Health and Hospice, she has traveled and worked in several of the company’s 23 offices. As she’s moved within the company, she has “witnessed cultural diversity as a top priority,” she says. “Everyone, regardless of race, age, gender, or whatever makes us unique given equal footing to achieve equal status within the company.”

The company makes its position on diversity clear not just in writing (in its diversity statement), but through diversity training, targeted staff education, and recruitment efforts aimed at minorities. Moreover, the company requires its employees to “renew their commitment to diversity” each year, Davenport says. “Alacare fosters an environment of cultural awareness amongst its employees, and everyone has equal opportunity to strive and rise to the top.”

Davenport started as an RN and went on to earn two master’s degrees and eventually became a Hospice Clinical Manager. “I couldn’t have done this without the support of the company I work for,” she says. “Diversity means that I am afforded every opportunity to grow and mature in my profession within an environment that believes in me and wants to see me strive in a positive manner that is beneficial to me and my organization. Alacare has this attitude and that’s why I believe Alacare is diversified and inclusive—they stand not behind but beside their employees.”

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Bayhealth Medical Center, Dover and Milford, Delaware

Nominated by Ludmila Santiago-Rotchford, M.S.N., R.N., P.C.C.N., A.C.N.S.-B.C.

Arriving in Dover, Delaware, back in 2000 felt like going back in time to Ludmila Santiago-Rotchford. “It seemed that most people I met had rarely ventured out of the First State and many people had been here for generations,” she says. “Who knew that this state . . . just a few hours away from metropolises of Philadelphia and New York City was where the infamous Mason Dixon line that separated the North from the South was found.”

Along with a colleague, Kimberly Holmes, M.S.N., R.N., P.C.C.N., A.C.N.S.-B.C., Santiago-Rotchford hoped to promote diversity in her health care system. A simple suggestion grew into the Bayhealth Diversity Committee, a multidisciplinary group that meets bimonthly. “For the past several years we have offered Scoop on Diversity sessions where staff can learn about topics of diversity while enjoying a sundae bar,” she says. “Our annual Diversity Cruise attracts many attendees where we employees display information and samplings of food representative of cultures from around the world.”

A busy committee, they disseminate a “tip sheet” each month called Insights on Diversity and recently partnered with Delaware State University for a Celebration of Culture event. Their website includes further resources regarding diversity, as well as a way for staff to leave feedback.

“Our dream has come to fruition in large part due to the support we have received from our committee members,” Santiago-Rotchford says, citing facilitator Marianne Foard, M.S., R.N., and Chief Nurse Executive Bonnie Perratto, M.S.N., R.N., M.B.A.,N.E.A.-B.C.,F.A.C.H.E., specifically.

Frontier Nursing University, Hyden, Kentucky Nominated by Nena Harris, Ph.D., F.N.P.-B.C., C.N.M.

Nena Harris started her journey at Frontier Nursing University

10 years ago as a student, one of three minority women in her orientation session. “The nature of our program, which is distance learning, creates challenges in that there are few face-to-face interactions,” she says. “As a student, I did not engage in attempting to understand the school’s commitment to diversity, but I also did not witness any active display of this commitment in a way that students could recognize.”

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Then, when Harris became a Frontier faculty member six years ago, she was the only professor of color. “Since that time, several faculty of color have been hired,” she says. “Also, I have more face-to-face interactions with students on campus and the composition of those sessions has become more colorful over the years.” In that time, Harris says she’s seen the school “develop a passion for diversity.”

A school founded to address the health care needs of the underserved, FNU is well suited to train nurses to go into those communities that continue to be marginalized—often minority communities. “The administration and faculty realize that providing care to diverse populations requires educating nurse-midwives and nurse practitioners who are committed to returning to the diverse communities in which they live and have roots,” Harris says. To that end, the school is working to recruit more diverse students and faculty, in part through its recently launched, multifaceted PRIDE (Promoting Recruitment and Retention to Increase Diversity in Nurse-Midwifery and Nurse Practitioner Education) initiative.

“FNU is a leader because it demonstrates the importance of educating a diverse workforce to meet the health care needs of an increasingly diverse population,” Harris says. “I am very proud to be associated with this institution.”

Grady Health System, Atlanta, Georgia

Nominated by Dennis Flores, B.S.N., A.C.R.N., et al.*

“Inherent in Grady Health System’s tradition of care is over a century’s worth of diverse personnel who advocate for everyone and discriminate against no one,” says Dennis Flores. “As nurses in our white scrubs, we represent a kaleidoscope of ethnic and racial backgrounds that fulfill the promise of nursing in our everyday practice.”

Many of Grady Health System’s clients come from underserved communities, and Flores says they can relate quickly to their providers, as the staff mirrors the diverse population of the Metro Atlanta region. “Nurses and patients speak the common language of a shared history and world-view, one that translates to better patient care,” he says.

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Flores commends a number of things illustrating the facility’s commitment to diversity, including minorities in various leadership positions, cooperative decision making at all levels, an endorsement from the Human Rights Campaign as a Leader in LGBT Healthcare Equality, and even a multicultural Nurses Week ad campaign. “Not only is [the ad] a tacit endorsement of the variety that makes up the staff, but it wisely capitalizes on our strength: Grady’s diversity,” he says.

“The culture here allows for us to thrive and newer staff members soon become acculturated to what fierce advocacy is all about,” Flores says. “We are blessed to be working here and we take exceptional pride in representing Grady Health System.”

Dennis Flores is joined by the following in nominating Grady Health System: Lillian Bryant, L.P.N.; Patrice Henry, L.P.N.; Luis Lopez, B.S.N., R.N.; Marie Lotin, R.N.; Andrea Mayo, R.N.; Njorge Ngaruiya, B.S.N., R.N.; Faith Works, R.N.

HCR Homecare, Rochester, New York

Nominated by Yvette Conyers, M.S.N., R.N., C.T.N.-B.

“Since I first walked through the doors of HCR Homecare, almost five years ago, I felt the culture of inclusion and diversity,” Yvette Conyers says. By meeting the need for more nurses, particularly Spanish-speaking nurses, to serve the many Hispanic patients in the area, the institution has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to diversity.

“The mission and vision of HCR Homecare supports diversity and values its employees considerably,” Conyers says. “The name HCR rings loud in a small community where everyone talks, and comments are always positive.” She cites the facility’s research into the needs of Hispanic patients, such as 2008’s Exito, which tackled reducing health care disparities through improved access and culturally competent care. HCR Homecare has also extended its efforts to improving care for African American, Russian/Ukranian, and various refugee populations. They do so, in part, through partnerships with many local agencies, such as the Rochester Housing Authority.

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“Training in cultural competence, specifically transcultural care, has been implemented and is constantly being upgraded to provide better patient care and decrease hospitalizations rates, creating trustful relationships and addressing the overall disparities our nation faces,” Conyers says. Certified nurses lead training sessions and help ensure continued efforts to improve cultural competence. “The constant changes and increased number of minorities both on a national and local level support the need to have an agency that is caring, diverse, and is inclusive of the clients they serve,” Conyers says. “I take pride in my organization!”

Seton Healthcare Family, Austin, Texas

Nominated by Cindy Ford, R.N., B.S.N.

Cindy Ford can name a litany of programs that make Seton Healthcare Family an admirable force in the promotion of diversity. And with 35 years of service to the organization, she would know. “During three decades, I have witnessed Seton lead medical, nursing, and technology advancements; become nationally respected for evidence-based practices; and progress as a leader in diversity.”

The faith-based collection of facilities includes 11 hospitals and 80 other various offices, and Ford says Seton is committed to “improving the diversity and inclusion of staff…by reflecting the communities we serve.”

That started with Seton’s Diversity Leadership Initiative, which “identified the challenges in reflecting the demographic makeup of the community,” Ford says. From those efforts came the hospital system’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, established in 2006 to meet the needs of the growing populations of African Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans in Texas. “Programs were developed to meet leadership initiatives,” she says, including diversity/cultural competence workshops, awareness events and cultural celebrations, an interpreter program, and a recruitment team committed to diverse hiring. Seton has also adopted Cincinnati Children’s Hospital’s Project SEARCH, a hiring initiative aimed at young people with developmental disabilities.

University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, Madison, Wisconsin

Nominated by Tracey L. Abitz, M.S., R.N., C.T.N.-B.

From Tracey Abitz’s description of the University of Wisconsin health care employee benefits and resources, it seems like a great place to work, regardless of whether you’re a minority or not! But those employee benefits and resources also reveal a determination to recruit and retain minorities, as well as provide culturally congruent care for diverse patients.

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“There is a commitment to diversity and cultural competence to community groups and partners by reaching out to the community with the assistance of the director of community partnerships,” Abitz says. For example, the University of Wisconsin system offers a wide array of language and interpretation services, including those for the deaf or hard of hearing, as well as 32 languages through face-to-face interpreters and over 250 by phone.

Abitz describes the hospital system’s many employee resources, from child and elder care to tuition reimbursement, and the facility has also partnered with a credit union to offer free tax services to employees in a lower income bracket. “There is ongoing review of recruitment and retention data of minority groups with increased efforts to try to diversify the recruitment pool for positions at the hospital, especially leadership positions,” she says.

The nursing staff in particular has served as advocates of diversity, including their use of the Purnell Model for Cultural Competence to assess patients and family needs, Abitz says. The nurses even designed an internal diversity website with resources for clinicians.

“A new interdisciplinary resource group led by nursing has been designed to have a group of champions interested in learning more about culture and diversity with the goal of raising awareness and knowledge, allowing them to be a resource to their colleagues,” Abitz says. “There is continual reflection and commitment to always strive for improvement.”

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