Vanderbilt Launches Leadership Program for Diverse New Nurse Leaders and Faculty

Vanderbilt Launches Leadership Program for Diverse New Nurse Leaders and Faculty

Vanderbilt University School of Nursing created a new leadership development program for nurses new in health care leadership and academic positions who are from groups historically underrepresented in nursing and/or those who support them. The Academy for Diverse Emerging Nurse Leaders will be held in Nashville from November 14-18. Applications for the inaugural class of fellows are now being accepted.

“The need for nursing faculty and nurse leaders from groups historically underrepresented in nursing is well established, but research shows a need for career development resources that address the specific needs and challenges of diverse nurse leaders,” says Pamela Jeffries, PhD., FAAN, ANEF, FSSH, dean of Vanderbilt School of Nursing. “We believe that the knowledge, mentorship, strategy, and skills that new leaders will attain via the Academy for Diverse Emerging Nurse Leaders will empower them to continue to advance and lead.”

VUSN Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Rolanda Johnson and Vanderbilt University Medical Center Senior Director for Nurse Diversity and Inclusion Mamie Williams will co-direct the academy, designed for nurses who have been in academic or health care leadership roles for less than three years.

“What makes this fellows program different from other professional development opportunities is that it incorporates and builds on the lived experiences of diverse faculty and health care leaders who have navigated a similar leadership path,” says Johnson. “It explores the challenges of being a leader from an underrepresented group as well as the challenges of supporting and expanding diversity in nursing leadership.”

Academy for Diverse Emerging Nurse Leaders

Academy for Diverse Emerging Nurse Leaders

Academy for Diverse Emerging Nurse Leaders

The academy is taught by experienced faculty and health care leaders from diverse backgrounds and is specifically designed to serve the needs of new and emerging nurse leaders and faculty. In addition to the initial five-day, in-person meeting, fellows will also participate in virtual sessions, receive mentorship from an executive coach and institutional mentor and develop a leadership project.

Williams said that the idea for the academy resonated with her as she thought about her own nurse leadership journey of more than 25 years. “This leadership academy, based on specialized education, discussions, and interactions with peers and diverse nurse leaders, affords the emerging leader an opportunity to thoughtfully design their leadership journey,” she says.

She and Johnson said the academy was developed to help new nursing faculty and new nurse leaders build skills, gain knowledge, and build a network of colleagues and mentors to help them advance their careers and mentor other emerging nurse leaders.

Applications for the first cohort of the Academy for Emerging Diverse Nurse Leaders are now open and available at For more information and details on the academy, visit

Nurse of the Week: Elliana Tenenbaum Might Become the First 16-Year-Old BSN

Nurse of the Week: Elliana Tenenbaum Might Become the First 16-Year-Old BSN

Move over Doogie Howser, M.D. — we’ve got the real deal here.

Our Nurse of the Week is Elliana Tenenbaum, a 15-year-old California native who has chosen Arizona State University to pursue her Bachelor of Science in nursing at Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation, and she’s not even old enough to drive.

She will graduate with her BSN next summer and will turn 16 in the fall, making her the youngest nursing student graduate ever at ASU. Neil P Harris with stethoscope as Doogie Howser, MD (ABC TV series).

In 2009, ASU had a student graduate at age 17, but this is truly unique, says Judith Karshmer, dean of the Edson College.

“The fact that Elliana has found her passion in nursing and is pursuing it at this level already is really impressive,” Karshmer said. “Our program at Edson College is quite rigorous in order to adequately prepare future nurses for the workforce. Her ability to handle the coursework and clinical experiences at such a young age is extraordinary and truly sets her apart. I’m just glad she picked us to earn her BSN and can’t wait to see all that she accomplishes in the future.”

Tenenbaum says she discovered her passion to heal people at an early age by shadowing her father.

“I’ve always had a calling to heal people and I grew up with my dad as a medical doctor. … I think I was 4 when I did my first shot and 8 when I did my first thyroid ultrasound,” she said.

Greatness runs in the family. Her mother, Maya, has her PhD, has taught statistics and political science, and continues her love of learning by taking postdoctoral classes. She says her daughter had a “deliberate plan,” and even mapped out her journey to success using charts to keep track of her credits and progress. In all, she says about 300 emails were sent back and forth between her daughter and her counselor.

“It’s really gratifying as a parent to see a child living up to their full potential and finding their gifts and giving back to the world,” Maya said.

Elliana Tenenbaum comes from a family of five, including a brother who attends the University of Arizona. Yet she chose ASU because of the accelerated nursing program and has found Edson professors to be exceptional and her fellow students to be quite supportive.

“They have accepted me as one of their peers and it’s been a great experience,” Tenenbaum said.

She sped through her high school years and took college credit courses while at El Camino High School at Ventura College in Ventura, California. And while she is incredibly smart, she said she did find some of her anatomy and physiology courses to be challenging at times.

The program she is enrolled in now is even more intense. It involves a rigorous 16-month accelerated program designed to give cohorts of nursing students real-life experience by working with patients, doctors and nurses in local hospitals and clinics.

“I am looking forward to working with more at-risk populations because there’s a greater responsibility there and they really need it,” said Tenenbaum, who has begun clinicals at the Justa Center and John C. Lincoln Memorial Hospital in Phoenix.

So, what’s next for this real-life Doogie Howser? While she can legally practice nursing in Arizona once she passes her state board exam, known as the NCLEX-RN, she plans to continue her education and pursue a master’s degree and a doctorate in nursing, which is a step beyond a nurse practitioner. She has an interest in acute care and trauma but would also like to explore other options that might allow her to see the world, such as travel nursing.

She advises others to be open-minded and to “not limit people by their age, and recognize people as individuals and not as numbers because everyone is different and learns at different paces”

She also says, “If you have an interest in something, find a way to pursue it.”

As for that driver’s license, well, she’s also enrolled in driver’s education courses, too, and will take a stab at that shortly after graduating college. But first things first.

Expressing Yourself On Social Media Boosts Mental Health And Helps Your Fellow Nurses

Expressing Yourself On Social Media Boosts Mental Health And Helps Your Fellow Nurses

Did you know that social media is a nurse’s “secret” weapon to reduce stress and anxiety? Expressing yourself on social media is one way to boost your mental health so that you feel more energized in the classroom, work environment, and hospital.

Social Media Benefits Mental Health

You have a lot on your plate if you’re an RN or nursing student. It’s a tough job, and life can get in the way of your education. But, despite the stress, there are ways to relax, recharge, and reach your goals. This meme became famous after a nurse shared a TikTok that went viral. The nurse deleted her TikTok account, but she made the video for sharing how distressed she felt after losing a patient.

Common Ties & Connection

If you’re looking for a way to connect with your nursing community, share stories about your day and gain support in your field, social media is one great way to do so. Are you using social media to connect with fellow nurses? If not, this may be a worthwhile endeavor. But more than just improving professional relationships, social media can also be helpful for your overall mental health, and it can even lead to job opportunities.

Sharing Your Story

Nurses on social media share their stories daily and sometimes by the hour while at work. They are working to bring light to the hardships and struggles but often rewarding aspects of having a nursing career. Viral nurses showcase acts of empathy and willingness to help others online and in the field. It can be therapeutic to share your story and watch others share theirs. #NurseTok

Helping Fellow Nurses

As a nurse, you wear many hats. The most obvious being that of healer and caregiver. But you wear another hat that is equally important and integral to your work: Advocate. Social media can be a powerful tool for spreading awareness and support, especially regarding mental health. So next time you feel like unloading your frustrations on social media, do it! You might be preventing someone else from experiencing mental distress.

We all need to remember that we all deserve to take a moment to take care of ourselves, and using social media is one way we can do that. But, of course, it’s never a good idea to ignore your emotional needs, and there are plenty of ways that expressing yourself on social media can help. Will it be the only thing that you do to stay strong? Of course not. But it can be an essential part of the equation.

We hope to see more nurses sharing their mental health journey and stories on social media.

5 Questions Every Nurse Should Ask Patients in Addiction Recovery

5 Questions Every Nurse Should Ask Patients in Addiction Recovery

It can be difficult for nurses to know how to best care for patients who are recovering from addiction. In order to provide the best possible care, it is important to ask the right questions. In this blog post, we will discuss five questions that every nurse should ask patients in addiction recovery.

Addiction is a complex disease that affects people in many different ways. Before we get into the questions let’s cover some signs of early addiction recovery. Early addiction recovery is a time when patients are learning how to cope with their sobriety and make lifestyle changes. They may still be adjusting to life without drugs or alcohol and may be dealing with the trauma they had been trying to erase, signs of this are:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue

While yes, treating individuals possibly going through such emotional instability can be infuriating, nurses must remember to put themselves in the shoes of the patient and not single them out. If any of these signs are noticeable in the patients, it is important to ask questions and get to the root of the problem. Here are five questions that every nurse should ask patients in addiction recovery:

1. Are you suffering from any withdrawal symptoms?

It is important to ask this to gauge how long they have been sober and if this could be why the patient is seeking medical attention. Symptoms of withdrawal are:

  • Cold sweats
  • Body pain
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability

If the patient is displaying any of these symptoms, it is important to ask follow up questions about what makes them feel better or worse and if they have ever went to rehab and experienced withdrawal before. It is also crucial to know if the patient has detoxed before and if so, how long ago that was.

2. What is your typical daily routine?

By getting an understanding of what the patient’s day looks like, nurses can better understand if there is something about their regular schedule that could be causing the medical issue.

3. Do you have any triggers that make you want to use drugs or alcohol?

If the patient is aware of their triggers, they can be more mindful of avoiding them. However, if the patient is not aware of their triggers, this question can open up a dialogue about what may cause a relapse. It also helps nurses know what procedures or comments to avoid when treating the patient. Some triggers could be:

  • Someone screaming in pain
  • Seeing a needle
  • Being around people who are ingesting drugs
  • Feeling stressed or anxious

3. Do you have any other medical conditions that we should be aware of?

Many times, patients in addiction recovery are also dealing with other medical issues. It is important for nurses to be aware of these conditions so that they can better treat the patient as a whole. Common medical conditions individuals in recovery also have:

  • PTSD
  • Depression
  • Chronic pain
  • Heart disease
  • Lung disease
  • Anxiety

4. What are your thoughts on your current treatment plan?

This question allows nurses to gauge how well the patient is responding to their current treatment. If the patient is not receptive to their treatment plan, it may be necessary to make changes. However, if the patient is doing well, this question can help nurses understand what is working and why.

Nurses play a vital role in the addiction recovery process. As an individual on the front lines nurses have a unique opportunity to help patients in a way that other health care professionals cannot. By asking these five questions, nurses can gain valuable insights into the lives of their patients and help them on their road to recovery.




“Why Can’t You Help Me?” Planned Parenthood Clinics Navigate a Post-Roe Landscape

“Why Can’t You Help Me?” Planned Parenthood Clinics Navigate a Post-Roe Landscape

Some clinics plan to relocate

Hanging on with ultrasounds



How Should Nurses Treat Transgender Patients? A Trans Patient Offers Some Tips

How Should Nurses Treat Transgender Patients? A Trans Patient Offers Some Tips

In nursing school, you may have learned that health care provider bias can literally endanger a patient, but when an instructor explains this, a least a few classmates will probably imagine their parents scoffing. Even if you can’t imagine your parents saying “hogwash!” to healthcare bias studies, as barely 0.6% of our population is transgender or genderqueer, if you feel uncomfortable or confused about what to say and do the first time you meet a trans patient, there’s no shame in admitting it. Better yet, a trans patient has some practical advice that might help you get started on the right foot.

“Treat the person with respect and caring, and leave whatever prejudices you have at the door.”

Wynne Nowland, CEO of Bradley & Parker, Inc., a New York insurance brokerage, made business news headlines when she came out as transgender last year. As a transgender patient, Nowland has firsthand knowledge of what it is like to be a member of a small minority seeking treatment within our healthcare system, and she kindly took the time to answer questions from DailyNurse. What follows is our interview, edited for length and clarity.

DN: We want to help nurses communicate more effectively with transgender patients and better understand their needs—for example, helping them find gender-affirming care.
That said, what is the first thing that nurses should do when they meet a transgender patient? Ask what pronouns they prefer? Should they ask about gender identity and sexual orientation?


NOWLAND: People don’t really want any special treatment–we just want to be treated like everyone else.

Many times, either with the name they are using or their choice of dress, hairstyle, etc., it is clear what gender the trans person is presenting as. In those cases, you should simply use the pronouns that correspond with that gender, regardless of the fact that you may suspect the person is trans or even though the person is trans.

If they are truly presenting in an ambiguous manner, it is then perfectly OK to ask which pronouns they prefer. Unless there is something specific going on that requires inquiry on sexual orientation, I can’t see any reason for that.

Sometimes going overboard has a reverse effect… we just really want to be treated like everyone else.

DN: What can nurses do to make sure that the patient feels comfortable in their care?

NOWLAND: Aside from using the correct pronouns and just being generally respectful, I’m not sure what else is required. Sometimes going overboard has a reverse effect, and as I already mentioned, we just really want to be treated like everyone else.

Sometimes, because of medical issues, intimate topics need to be addressed and there is really no way around that. It just needs to be done with care and compassion.

DN: Is there any particular guiding principle to follow when treating a transgender patient?

NOWLAND: Treat the person with respect and care and leave whatever prejudices you have at the door. A simple formula, but one that will be effective.

DN: What are some of the biggest mistakes that nurses can make when treating or communicating with a transgender patient?

NOWLAND: Being disrespectful, judgmental, or insensitive. For some people, the temptation to let the trans person know that they know they are trans is strong and that should be avoided at all costs.

In reality, the vast majority of trans people have the same medical needs as anyone else.

DN: How can nurses help trans patients—in terms of helping them find resources for better trans care, advocating for them, or even stepping in if they see another health care provider doing something that’s not appropriate with trans patients?

NOWLAND: If a nurse sees another medical professional in some way treating a trans person in an inappropriate manner, almost anyone would appreciate the nurse taking any other professional aside and discreetly redirecting them. It’s not a great idea to have a blatant confrontation, as that can just put the trans person in an even more embarrassing position.

The same with any advocacy, while it’s appreciated, being present during a combative situation is not pleasant and is best avoided. The very phrase “trans care” is kind of nebulous. In reality, the vast majority of trans people have the same medical needs as anyone else. There are certainly some items regarding medical transition and supportive therapy that are specific to trans people. If someone is presenting in a general practice, for instance, that is not equipped to handle medical transition needs, then it certainly would be thoughtful to have referrals to those practices that can help.

DN: What do you think trans patients would most want nurses to know?

NOWLAND: A theme I have had running through my entire commentary on this topic—we just want the same care as everyone else. And sometimes we understand that specific trans care like the things I mentioned above may not be your specialty or in your practice. That’s OK. Just talk to us about it in a respectful manner and help us find those resources.

Unless there is a medical reason to know, asking what’s in somebody’s pants is just never appropriate!

DN: Is there anything else that you think our readers need to know?

NOWLAND: Sometimes people are naturally curious about trans people and some things about their lives.

Every trans person, like every other person, is different and takes this curiosity in various ways.

In my own case, I welcome respectful questions, but at the same time can see the ones that are asking for the wrong reasons from a mile away.

Finally, the one big thing most trans people feel very protective about is the status of any gender-conforming surgery. Unless there is a medical reason to know, asking what’s in somebody’s pants is just never appropriate!

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