Diverse Mag Adds FNU’s Geraldine Young to “Outstanding Women in Higher Education” List

Diverse Mag Adds FNU’s Geraldine Young to “Outstanding Women in Higher Education” List

Now that diversity and inclusion programs can sigh with relief that they are not “unAmerican” after all, we can proceed to celebrate their vital role in encouraging non-Whites to enter the nursing workforce. One of the nursing school champions in this area is Frontier Nursing University, and this year, Dr. Geraldine Young, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, CDCES, FAANP, FNU’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, is being recognized as one of the Outstanding Women in Higher Education by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education magazine. This is the 10th consecutive year that Diverse has named 25 women “who have made a difference in the academy by tackling some of higher education’s toughest challenges, exhibiting extraordinary leadership skills, and making a positive difference in their respective communities.” The issue will be published on March 4, 2021, in honor of Women’s History Month.

“I am incredibly honored and humbled to be recognized on this special list of women,” Dr. Young said. “I am thankful to have led the diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives at FNU over the past year. As we strengthen our own environment, we have the opportunity to set an example and standard for other institutions to follow. I thank Diverse magazine for this honor and for giving us this platform to inspire others.”

Dr. Young, whose service in the nursing profession spans over 20 years, joined FNU in the fall of 2019. She holds a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (2010), an MSN from Alcorn State University in Mississippi (2005), and a BSN from the University of Mississippi Medical Center (2001).  She is also a board-certified family nurse practitioner (FNP) (2005) and a certified diabetes care and education specialist (2011). 

Dr. Young is a National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF) Leadership Fellow and Fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (FAANP) and has been deemed a content expert for one of the leading credentialing bodies for NPs, the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).  She serves on an array of national committees to advance nurse practitioner education, including the NONPF Curricular Leadership Committee and Conference Committee. She is also a member of the NONPF Board of Directors and a member of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing Essentials Task Force.

As a member of the Essentials Task Force and NONPF Board of Directors, Dr. Young is ensuring cultural diversity and inclusion are at the forefront of nursing education to address the health disparities and inequalities that exist in our nation.  She has effectively delivered models of clinical practice to improve the outcomes of underserved and minority populations with diabetes in conjunction with the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS).

FNU President Dr. Susan Stone, CNM, DNSc, FAAN, FACNM cheered Dr. Young’s “experience and expertise as an advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion,” and added, “With the guidance of Dr. Young… we will continue to make diversity, equity, and inclusion a top priority at all levels of the university.”

In each of the past three years, FNU has also received the prestigious Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. The Health Professions HEED Award is the only national honor recognizing U.S. medical, dental, pharmacy, osteopathic, nursing, veterinary, allied health, and other health schools and centers that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion across their campuses. 

FNU’s commitment to emphasizing and valuing diversity and inclusion was formally instituted in 2006 when the university began intense efforts to recruit minority students in an effort to diversify the advanced practice nursing and midwifery workforce. FNU’s initial efforts were funded through the support of an Advanced Nurse Education grant from the Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA). In 2010, FNU held its first annual Diversity Impact Conference. Held each summer since then, the Diversity Impact Conference opens the door for nurse practitioner and nurse-midwifery students plus faculty and staff to foster collaborative discussions, address health disparities, and find proactive solutions to improve minority health among underrepresented and marginalized groups. Today,  the goal of a diverse health care workforce continues with efforts to recruit and educate faculty, staff, students, and preceptors and integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts throughout all of FNU operations with a goal that it should be fully integrated into the university’s culture. FNU’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts are currently funded with a Nursing Workforce Diversity Grant from the HRSA. 

These diversity initiatives span all facets of the university, but one of the most telling and important data points is the percentage of students of color enrolled at FNU. In 2009, that number was 9 percent. Starting in 2010 with the HRSA funding, FNU’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives have resulted in the percentage of students of color enrolled growing to 25 percent today.  

CNM Describes Midwifery in Mennonite Community During COVID-19

CNM Describes Midwifery in Mennonite Community During COVID-19

With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jennifer Scott, CNM, realized that she needed to take additional steps to keep her patients safe. As the pandemic rose in severity, Jennifer, whose primary patient base is a local Mennonite community in the Finger Lakes region of central New York, temporarily closed her clinic and began seeing patients in their homes. 

The home visits were necessary, according to Scott, who had to rule out telehealth visits because her Mennonite patients don’t have computers or cell phones.

“We provided home visits because it is easier to isolate and wipe down our equipment between homes. This also prevented our clients from congregating in the waiting room. Many women will make appointments on the same day and share a ride. We are also only visited clients who were higher risk or near term. For example, we’ve spaced our four-week visits out to five weeks and are doing more phone calls.”

Jennifer is from the Finger Lakes region and, after working as a full-scope midwife in a community hospital for seven years, she joined other colleagues to open Community Midwives in 2019. She has retained admitting privileges at the hospital, though the Mennonite community prefers home births. 

“The reasons are multifaceted,” Jennifer said, noting that she and her fellow nurse-midwife at Community Midwives attend six to 10 births per month in the community of approximately 600 families.

“Many are farmers, have large families and don’t drive cars. In order to have a hospital birth they would need someone to take care of the farm, watch the children and would have to hire a driver to take them to the hospital in labor, possibly in the middle of the night. The closest maternity hospital is 30 to 45 minutes by car. Some are put off by hospital costs and length of stay. Others like the comfort of their own home. They feel safer emotionally to give birth in their own surroundings.”

Making her patients feel safe became an additional challenge amid the COVID-19 pandemic. While the pandemic impacted this somewhat isolated community differently than other parts of the country, the fears were the same. The closing of schools and churches limited primary sources of socialization, entertainment, and information. Because the Mennonite community does not watch TV or listen to music, Jennifer shared news about the pandemic with the families she serves, printing off the latest information from the county and state health departments. 

“Like everyone, they were worried for their families, stressed by the social restrictions and having to homeschool their children,” Jennifer said.

“The Mennonite community is very self reliant. They have stocks of canned and frozen produce from their own gardens and bake their own bread.  They have fresh eggs and milk also. They may only go once a month to Walmart for other supplies so they are not as exposed to as many crowds.”

Jennifer, whose husband also battled the COVID-19 pandemic as a physician in a local hospital, said she hopes the pandemic inspires others to choose nursing and medicine, just as she was inspired by her experiences as a Frontier Nursing University (FNU) student.

“FNU taught me to grab my saddlebag, get on my horse and ride up that mountain,” Jennifer said.

“It taught me that my calling is to care for the underserved, the vulnerable families, without hesitation. I’ve always believed the education at FNU has prepared me for anything I encounter in the workplace. I remember Kitty Ernst giving a talk at Frontier Bound that I paraphrased as ‘We only educate the strongest, most resilient nurses’.”

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