Nurse of the Week Michael King has been dedicated to both nursing and the law for 15 years. His latest challenge—as Commander of the New York City Police Department’s Special Victims Division—calls for him to draw upon both of his professions.
The Jamaican-born officer/RN emigrated to New York at the age of 16, and enrolled in an emergency medical technician program after he entered college. After four years of training paramedics, King joined the NYPD as a beat cop in 2000. As a rookie policeman, he attended nursing school and worked in city hospitals during his off hours. By 2005 he was a licensed RN. King eventually became a forensic nurse, and spent his off-duty time as a coordinator at the Wyckoff Heights Medical Center’s sexual assault response team. Meanwhile, he pursued his NYPD career as an investigator, a crime scene commander, and later as the executive officer of the Joint Terrorism Task Force.
John Miller, the NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism, who recommended King for the Special Victims command, says “If we didn’t have Mike King, I am not sure we could have invented him. At SVU he can combine his experiences of helping people in trauma, his knowledge of science, forensics and investigation and his sense of justice in a way no one else — at least no one else I know — could.”
King’s understanding of the close relationship between forensic nurses and police sex crime units makes him keenly aware of both the wide picture and the details behind the operation of an SVU. He also has first-hand experience with rape kits from his stints as a nurse at hospitals in Long Island and Brooklyn. King says his team uses a “science-based technique that encompasses compassion, sensitivity, and the knowledge of psychological trauma.” He wants to extend training in this area toi patrol officers as well, as “they are usually the first ones at a scene to interview a survivor of sexual assault.”
For an interview with Michael King, see this video at PIX11. More details on King’s background and career are available in this story from AM New York.
In addition to Dr. Grant’s keynote address, the conference (which is being hosted online by SpringerPassport) will feature poster presentations, a live NCLEX-RN Review, networking opportunities with prospective employers and schools in the Exhibit Hall/Career Development Center, special discounts at publisher and NCLEX vendor exhibit booths, a virtual yoga session, and more. Live interaction in the Exhibit Hall begins at 7pm EDT on October 29; visit the schedule for details on all live event times. Attendees can also take advantage of the virtual format to access video recordings of programs and exhibits at their convenience (recordings will be available for three months post-conference).
Poster presentations featuring school and state projects by NSNA Chapters and individual members will be available through the online Project Showcase. Presenters can apply here. The application deadline is October 25, 5:00pm EDT.
Registration for the NSNA’s 38th MidYear Conference is open through October 31, 11.30pm EDT. Members who register by or before October 13will receive a $15 Early-Bird Registration Discount. Prior to registering you will need to have your membership number and/or credit card handy. NSNA members and sustaining members must provide their membership number when they pre-register for verification purposes.
The NSNA fosters the professional development of undergraduate nursing students and provides them with opportunities to develop their leadership skills and prepare for lifelong involvement and continuing education in the nursing profession. The association currently has over 60,000 members in 1,500 nursing programs across the US. Visit NSNA.org for information on membership, scholarships, the NSNA Career Center, and association activities.
Claiming that it will “effectively reverse decades of progress in combating racial inequality,” the American Nursing Association (ANA), the American Medical Association (AMA), and the American Hospital Association (AHA) have called upon the White House to rescind Executive Order 13950, “Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping.”
Scheduled to take full effect in November, the September 22 EO directs that federal funds be denied to federal agencies, companies with federal contracts, and recipients of federal grants that sponsor any program that “promotes race or sex-stereotyping or scapegoating.” Any company found to be defying the order is threatened with cancellation of all federal contracts or funding. Non-exempt contractors are expected to start complying by November 21, but federal agencies were immediately affected by the order. The Justice Department has already suspended its diversity and inclusion training, and the prohibition has provoked a tumult at colleges, hospitals, government offices, non-profit organizations, and other institutions dependent on federal monies.
Citing “the pernicious and false belief that America is an irredeemably racist and sexist country; that some people, simply on account of their race or sex, are oppressors; and that racial and sexual identities are more important than our common status as human beings and Americans,” the EO is a widespread condemnation of the standards underlying most mainstream diversity initiatives. The order describes the concepts espoused in recent federal training programs as a “malign ideology” and claims that “research… suggests that blame-focused diversity training reinforces biases and decreases opportunities for minorities.”
The October 14 ANA/AMA/AHA letter states that “as providers of care to diverse communities throughout the country, we urge the Administration to immediately rescind EO 13950 and allow for our continued work on inclusion and equity.” The three signatories warn that Executive Order 13950 will “stifle attempts at open, honest discussion of these issues [e.g., sexism, systemic racism] in the public and private sectors” and argue that “prohibiting federal agencies from conducting and funding trainings that promote racial reconciliation is counterproductive to addressing racism.” Noting the disproportionate impact of the pandemic upon Black and Brown Americans, the letter argues that “vital research conducted at the National Institutes of Health and academic centers to comprehend the effects of structural racism and implicit bias on health care and health outcomes is needed right now more than ever before.”
The Association of American Medical Colleges also spoke out against the order, and in a September 24 letter, stated that “The AAMC, and the academic medical institutions that comprise our membership, are committed to being diverse, inclusive, equitable, and anti-racist organizations. We believe this training is needed now more than ever. The AAMC intends to continue our trajectory of pursuing and even increasing such training. We urge our member institutions and other affected organizations to do so as well.”
While the academic world is largely seeking to challenge the order, two colleges, the University of Iowa and John A. Logan College, have already announced that they are shuttering their diversity programs, at least on a temporary basis.
Most nurses understand the importance of discussing end of life care and preparing advance directives, but they are only human—and it is very human to avoid confronting the prospect of one’s own death. The pandemic should serve as a wake-up call, though, especially for nurses, who are even more vulnerable to the virus than other healthcare workers. With the number of lives lost to COVID-19 passing 200,000 in the US and 1 million worldwide, if you have not already discussed end of life care with your friends and family, it’s time to act.
Nurses know from first-hand experience that most patients who run the code blue gauntlet never sat down with their loved ones to discuss the decisions and consequences that come with end of life care. There is a natural reluctance on both sides. Most people shy away from thoughts about their own death, and it is painful even to imagine losing someone you love. It can be so distressing and awkward to discuss end of life care, that a spouse or parent who tries to broach the subject is often shut down without a hearing.
People tend to agree that they should make preparations for their end of life care, but there is a substantial gap between beliefs and deeds. In a 2017 Kaiser Family Foundation poll, 87% of the respondents—young adults as well as senior citizens—said they considered it “very important” to have a document of their wishes for end of life treatment. However, only 34% had actually documented their wishes for medical care if they became seriously ill, and just 18% had discussed end of life issues with their doctor. Ironically, 95% of the respondents to a 2018 survey by The Conversation Project said that they were willing or wanted to talk about their end-of-life wishes. It can be that difficult to take action on a matter one believes to be “very important.”
What can you do to help? If you make plans for your own end of life care, you will be in a better position to persuade patients to make and document their own arrangements. Perhaps you already make a point of discussing these issues with patients, but haven’t prepared your own plans? The pandemic is giving many nurses a new sense of urgency. A 27-year-old ICU nurse, Deborah Szeto, shared her experience on The Conversation Project blog, admitting, “as someone who frequently talks to her patients about having honest conversations with their loved ones about their end-of-life preferences, the COVID-19 pandemic was the final push I needed to truly practice what I preach.” She found herself “reading article after article about seemingly healthy young adults being hospitalized for COVID-19 symptoms. Some of the most chilling stories were about young ICU nurses. I imagined myself on high flow oxygen—or worse, intubated…” Instead of hiding from her fears or denying them, she proceeded to fill out an advance directive and emailed a copy to her healthcare provider.
You can read ICU nurse Deborah Szeto’s blog on COVID-19 and end of life planning here. Our Care Wishes offers a series of guides and helps users to create a free custom document recording their medical care decisions. To find an advance directive designed for your state, visit the Prepare Advance Directive page on the Prepare for Your Care site and select your state from the drop-down menu. For information on how to select or be a health care proxy, see this guide from The Conversation Project.
Nurse of the Week Marie Manthey is a very busy 85-year-old nurse, entrepreneur, advocate, and activist in the anti-racism movement. After the American Academy of Nursing presented her with a Living Legends award in 2015 for her pioneering work in developing the Primary Nursing model, she did not retire to rest on her laurels. Manthey continues to host her Nursing Salons (regular gatherings in which nurses meet to share conversations and support), works with the company she founded and is still an active advocate for nurses suffering from substance use disorder.
Manthey is also a leader among nurses in the anti-racism movement. After the summer wave of anti-racism protests, she met with DailyNurse to talk about what it means to take action against racism, her journey as a White ally, and her latest Creative Nursing article, which takes a look at trailblazing Black nurse Frances McHie (pronounced “mic-hye”) and the struggle to overcome racism at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing.
DailyNurse: How did you first hear about Frances McHie?
Marie Manthey: “The school of nursing at University of Minnesota has long had a group of very strong volunteers who have a very extensive collection and data [on the history of the nursing school]. So this group of alumni volunteers—who care passionately and energetically about the history of the school of nursing—are responsible for managing historical documents.
And in that documentation area, we found that our first African-American student, Frances McHie, had only been admitted by demand of the legislature. (We recently celebrated the centennial of her admission, which was attended by some of her descendants).”
DN: How did you become involved in the anti-racism movement?
MM: “My awareness began when, 4 or 5 years ago, the Dean of the University of Minnesota School of Nursing, Connie Delaney—who is a phenomenally transformative leader—brought in a speaker to talk about white privilege. That was the first time I had heard that term. She also brought in a university-wide task force on diversity and equity, and I attended some of their open discussions about what is happening to African-American students in our school today.
The next step for me, was I became friends with an African-American person. Her name is Tammy, and she’s a nurse in an administrative position at a local hospital. Well, we met at a statewide leadership meeting, where we made a commitment to develop our relationship and became friends. Tammy started to come to the nursing “salons” I had formed earlier—where we would have dinner, and talk, where the question would be asked, “what’s on your mind about nursing?” and at the end of the evening we would go around and respond to the question “what’s on your mind about nursing now?” After Tammy joined us, we often found ourselves discussing issues affecting nurses of color, and Tammy went on to open a Black nursing salon. We held the first one at my house, and mine was the only white face there. That was part of my leap to a different level of understanding because I listened to what these nurses were talking about. And as I’m listening to them, I’m hearing about what systemic racism really looks like! I had not understood it before; I thought it was about the way we individually deal with racism.
[At the Black Nurses’ Salon] I began to understand what the system has done. It was a big breakthrough. I could finally see where I was in the system as a nursing leader. I could see where some of the decisions I made that involved a person of color versus a White person going for a promotion or better hours, and my decision would sometimes be ‘well, it would work out better if we give this to a White person; she’ll get along better.’ And I didn’t see that until I heard these nurses talk about what it’s like to apply for better hours or something, and despite equal education, equal experience, the white nurse will get it. Also, until now, I didn’t really understand White privilege. Now—at the age of 85—I finally get how being born white has affected everything from my thought processes to my life experiences. It’s very clear to me that action is the only solution.
Tammy and I are going to start another Salon on diversity in nursing with an equal number of nurses of color and nurses who are white. To get us talking to each other.”
DN: It’s complicated. On one hand, it’s not the job of Black people to tell Whites, “this is what you need to do to stop being racist,” but at the same time, we can only learn by communicating in an open, willing dialogue.
MM: “I had to learn how to listen without judgment. At the Black Nurses Salon, I went in ready to just accept what everyone was saying without deciding whether I agreed with everything that was being said.”
DN: One of the biggest obstacles we face is that we are living in an age of “I’m not a racist” racism.
MM: “That’s very true. I discuss that in some detail in a piece I wrote on my journey toward becoming an anti-racist. I went from proudly saying, “I’m not racist!” to actually taking on responsibility for taking steps to dismantle systemic racism and acknowledging that my people with my skin color have been building this system for 400 years At the salons, I began to accept responsibility for what happened. I didn’t ask for it or personally cause it to happen, but it was part of my culture. People of color certainly didn’t ask for it either…..and both of us have experienced the impact of systemic racism.
After taking responsibility, I began to understand that the only solution—I’m a big follower of Nelson Mandela and the idea of reconciliation; it’s a big part of my value system—is reparations. I don’t necessarily mean financial, but the way I am in my world, how I present myself, how accept what other people are saying to me.”
DN: That brings us to the Frances McHie nursing school scholarship, which is a form of reparation, right?
MM: “Yes. When the idea of a scholarship in Frances McHie’s name came up, we found a relative of hers who was a nephew and began putting some flesh on the idea. And with his help, we established the Frances McHie Scholarship for nurses of color [at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing]. That was an action step following a public apology to the McHie family. Dean Connie Delaney made a public statement reflecting that the Frances McHie scholarship was a step in reparations and in accepting the school’s responsibility for racism.”
DN: What other actions are nursing schools taking to reduce the effects of systemic racism?
MM: “Some are changing admissions criteria from a hard GPA requirement, and are taking a person’s story into account as well. I think that’s a good idea. There’s no doubt that people of color don’t have equal opportunities. I have a book that was published in 1933, [Carter G. Woodson’s] The Mis-Education of the Negro. It tells the story of how Jim Crow schools started. It says they were teaching them at a lower level, and that’s been carried on through the years.”
DN: What sorts of things can individuals do to fight racism, on an immediate level?
MM: “We can look at big-picture issues—who we elect as our representatives, our senators, etcetera, but we also have to work on a personal level. We need to make deliberate, conscious, intentional choices about the way we live our lives. What is my circle of responsibility and control, and how do I want to be in those areas? I have to look at the way I interact with my children, my friends, my family, my associates, and ask “what are the things that I can influence?” For me writing—for instance, the article [on Frances McHie] and my personal story about my journey—can help me to influence others to work toward change. I just feel that that is what I need to be doing at this point in my life. This is a personal choice we make: are we going to continue to be the way we’ve been, or are we prepared to step into an area where we can’t predict what people’s reactions will be?”
DN: Are more people sincerely examining their own views and trying to move forward?
MM: “I feel very hopeful because so many people are having these conversations. I have these conversations with a lot of my friends. A lot of [other White people] are talking to me about racism. And my company is creating a task force; we are engaged in looking at everything we do.
I’m also the chairman of the board of Directors of the Nurses Peer Review Network, which helps nurses who have been struggling with addiction and are trying to regain their licenses. I’ve been asking people, “can you help me find African-Americans or other people of color for our board?” We recently added our first Black board member, and we have two more we are considering for our [organization. And I think that I’m not the only person who is doing this. Best Buy is looking for enough people of color and women to make up 30% of their new hires. A number of companies are taking action, and I think that’s a hopeful sign.”
Marie Manthey is the author of the award-winning book, The Practice of Primary Nursing, and is a co-founder of the journal Creative Nursing. Manthey’s recent article on Frances McHie—the nurse, activist, and entrepreneur who broke the color barrier at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing—is available here.
Founded by nursing pioneer and award-winning author Marie Manthey, Creative Nursing has been a quarterly journal for health care thought leaders and innovators since 1981. The journal is edited by health care professionals who love our professions and have a vision for their future.