Nurse of the Week: Nursing Professor Yolanda Nelson Creates System to Keep Black Nursing Students in School

Nurse of the Week: Nursing Professor Yolanda Nelson Creates System to Keep Black Nursing Students in School

Our Nurse of the Week is Yolanda Nelson, an alumna and nursing professor at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) who created a proven system to keep black nursing students in school. Her program Moving Forward Together was launched as a mentorship program to help black nursing students overcome barriers to entry in the nursing profession.

The US is rapidly growing more diverse, making the care provided by nurses of color especially valuable. According to Nelson, people of color often seek medical care with providers who are of the same race or ethnic background. 

The number of black nurses is low at most healthcare facilities and black students comprise a small portion of nursing students nationwide. This is largely due to barriers to entry including inadequate academic preparation in high school and a lack of diverse faculty in the field.

Nelson tells news.tcnj.edu, “As a student at TCNJ, I didn’t have any role models who looked like me. It would have helped if I had a mentor to encourage me.”

Nelson has thrived as a case manager and practicing clinician and served in leadership roles at several hospitals in New Jersey throughout her career. She has personally witnessed a lack of mentoring as another road block to increasing diversity in nursing and healthcare.

To help address this issue, Nelson launched Moving Forward Together when she joined TCNJ’s faculty in 2017. Moving Forward Together is a mentorship program that matches TCNJ’s black nursing students with working black nurse mentors, some of whom are alumni. Mentors are “someone they can lean on” in dealing with a professor, developing study skills, or finding their first job. So far, Nelson has matched 30 students with mentors and has seen six participants graduate.

To learn more about olanda Nelson, an alumna and nursing professor at The College of New Jersey who created a proven system to keep black nursing students in school, visit here

US House of Representatives Passes Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization to Support Nation’s Health

US House of Representatives Passes Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization to Support Nation’s Health

The US House of Representatives recently passed HR 728, the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act of 2019, representing an important step toward reauthorizing vital programs that bolster nursing education, prepare the next generation of nurses, and support communities across the country.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is especially grateful to the US House of Representatives for their commitment to the nursing profession. Dr. Ann Cary, Chair of the AACN Board of Directors, tells newswise.com, “These programs are vital to ensuring we have a robust and diverse nursing pipeline, especially in rural and underserved areas.”

The lead sponsor of HR 728 is Representative Dave Joyce (R-OH) and the cosponsors include Representatives Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Doris Matsui (D-CA), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Kathy Castor (D-FL), David McKinley (R-WV), and Lauren Underwood (D-IL).

According to Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, “There is a dire need of nurses all across this country, with rural and underserved communities most negatively impacted. Nurses are the heartbeat of our healthcare system, and this shortage is a crisis that impacts everyone. This bill will help make it easier to educate, train, and grow the number of nurses across the country. The Senate must quickly take up and pass our bipartisan bill so that we can build the 21st Century nursing workforce we need.” 

To learn more about the recently passed Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act of 2019, visit here

Frontier Nursing University Wins Second Consecutive HEED Award for Excellence in Diversity

Frontier Nursing University Wins Second Consecutive HEED Award for Excellence in Diversity

INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine has just recognized Frontier Nursing University’s commitment and accomplishments for the second consecutive year. FNU has now added the 2019 Health Professions HEED (Higher Education Excellence in Diversity) award to their shelf alongside their award from 2018.

INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine's 2019 HEED Awards
About the Health Professions HEED Award

“The Health Professions HEED Award process consists of a comprehensive and rigorous application that includes questions relating to the recruitment and retention of students and employees and best practices for both; continued leadership support for diversity; and other aspects of campus diversity and inclusion,” said Lenore Pearlstein, co-publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. The magazine is the oldest and largest publication on this topic in higher education and is well-known for its annual Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Awards.

Pearlstein adds, “As we continue to see a record number of Health Professions HEED Award applicants each year, nearly every school tells us they use the application itself as a tool to create new programs and to benchmark their accomplishments across campus. The process allows them to reflect on their successes and also determine where more work needs to be done. We also continue to raise the standards in selecting HEED institutions.”

Diversity Impact at Frontier Nursing University

FNU’s history of emphasizing and valuing inclusion was formally instituted nine years ago, when it instituted the Diversity Impact Program in 2010. Each summer, FNU holds the Diversity Impact Conference 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.

FNU’s 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. In 2019, it has grown to 23 percent.

“We are incredibly proud to receive the prestigious HEED Award again this year,” said FNU President Dr. Susan Stone. “To receive this award two years in a row is a wonderful honor. Our graduates serve people of all races and cultures and are increasingly coming from diverse backgrounds. It is imperative that our students, faculty, and staff have cultural awareness and competency in order to effectively advance our mission. The HEED Award confirms the value of our efforts and validates our continued emphasis on diversity and inclusion within the culture of FNU.”

INSIGHT Into Diversity Magazine

INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine is the oldest and largest diversity publication in higher education today and is well-known for its annual Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award. In addition to its online job board, INSIGHT Into Diversity presents timely, thought-provoking news and feature stories on matters of diversity and inclusion across higher education. Articles include interviews with innovators and experts, as well as profiles of best practices and exemplary programs. Current, archived, and digital issues of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine are available online at insightintodiversity.com.

For further information on Frontier Nursing University and the Health Professions HEED Award, visit the FNU site.

Nurse of the Week: NICU Nurse Tara Fankhauser Crochets Halloween Costumes for Hospital’s Tiniest Patients

Nurse of the Week: NICU Nurse Tara Fankhauser Crochets Halloween Costumes for Hospital’s Tiniest Patients

Our Nurse of the Week is Tara Fankhauser, a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nurse at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta who crochets Halloween costumes for the NICU babies in her care. This is the fourth year in a row that she’s spent months crocheting costumes for the hospital’s tiniest patients.

Fankhauser is a mom of three in addition to being a NICU nurse. She takes time every year to make the Halloween costumes herself. According to her coworker Alanna Gardner, Fankhauser uses Pinterest and the baby’s different personalities to decide on the perfect costume for them. She usually begins designing the costumes in the Spring and ends on Halloween day.

Fankhauser never repeats a costume. The costumes take anywhere from a few hours to a full day to make. The costumes are gifts; families are able to take them home as keepsakes of their child’s first Halloween. Holidays can be particularly hard for families with children in the NICU, which is why Fankhauser goes to the effort of bringing the Halloween spirit to the hospital’s tiniest patients.

Gardner tells fox5atlanta.com, “What started out as a hobby has quickly become a hospital tradition that brings joy to our families and staff.”

To learn more about Tara Fankhauser, a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nurse at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta who crochets Halloween costumes for the hospital’s tiniest patients, visit here.

Unintentional Biases Can Be Overcome

Unintentional Biases Can Be Overcome

NEW ORLEANS — Everyone has unintentional biases, but physician practices can mitigate them with a few simple steps, experts said here.

The speakers defined unintentional biases as “stereotypes or beliefs that affect our actions in a discriminatory manner.” Such bias may affect our actions in a way contrary to our intentions, two speakers said at the Medical Group Management Association annual meeting.

Unintentional biases — also known as unconscious biases — can work against a practice’s commitment to diversity in hiring and workplace inclusion, said Steve Marsh, founder of The Medicus Firm, a physician recruiting firm in Dallas. “Diversity and inclusion go hand in hand,” he said. “you can do a good job of diversity hiring, but if you don’t have an inclusive environment that’s welcoming to all the people you brought in, it’s worthless; in fact, it can backfire on you.”

Achieving these goals “isn’t real complicated, it’s just really hard to do,” he added. “You can’t do a a crash diet on diversity hiring; you can’t do a crash diet on inclusive culture. It’s a lifestyle, not an event.”

188 Types of Bias

Pam Snyder, head of recruiting at Baystate Health, a healthcare system based in Springfield, Massachusetts, cited the launch of the video viewing site YouTube as an example of the perils of a non-diverse workforce. When YouTube’s mobile version launched, “there was a glitch in it — 25% of people were reporting it wasn’t working,” she said.

The reason? The mobile version was designed entirely by people who were right-handed and all turned their phones a certain way to see videos; left-handers turn their phones the opposite way, so the videos all appeared upside down. “Because they had that lack of diversity on their team, the product wasn’t launched accurately.”

A total of 188 types of unconscious bias have been identified, Snyder said. She listed four of the most common types:

  • Affinity bias: We tend to be more receptive to people who resemble our lives in some way. For example, Snyder was hiring a new recruiter on her team, but happened not to be there on the day one candidate came in for an interview. But during a follow-up phone call about the candidate, “I had at least three different staff people say, ‘You’re going to love her; she reminds me of your daughter.’ That was their affinity bias.”
  • Confirmation bias: We look for information that supports our beliefs and ignoring details to the contrary. Snyder, who is from Tennessee, explained that “when you hear someone with an accent like mine … you think they’re not well-educated. Confirmation bias is when you look for things when you’re talking to someone that confirms that.”
  • Halo effect: There’s something good about someone and because of the one good thing, we think everything about them is good. “In Tennessee, when we got a CV and it was from a Harvard grad, we’re like, ‘We’ve hit the jackpot,'” she said. “This halo effect was real; there were things we’d ignore about that candidate because of what was on their CV.”
  • Perception bias: This one is “really scary, worse than confirmation bias,” said Snyder. “You know it — you’ve met one person that had these physical and emotional attributes and you’ve formed your opinion and you can’t get away from that. That’s really the scariest when it comes to recruitment.”

Steps to Overcome Bias

To overcome unintentional bias, “the first thing we have to do is accept the fact that we have it,” said Snyder. “We can’t control the experiences we have had.” She suggested taking an “implicit association” test such as this one offered by Harvard. “You need to take an honest look at your unconscious.”

To mitigate bias and foster a diverse workplace, organizations are moving toward competency and evidence-based recruitment, she continued. Part of the competency-based evaluation for interviewees involves asking behavioral event interviewing (BEI) questions involving something the person experienced in the past. Such questions often begin with “Tell me about a time when…”

“Tell Me About…”

For example, one practice wanted to know whether its candidates for a physician slot would be able to handle the workload, which involved seeing as many as 25 patients per day with only one medical assistant and a shared RN. So they might ask candidates the following about their previous job experience: “Tell me how many patients you saw in a day and what support you had.” If the candidate answers, “I saw 10 patients a day, and had two medical assistants and my own RN,” that might mean that the candidate isn’t a good match for the position, she said.

A question to ask when you want to find out about the candidate’s teamwork abilities is, “Describe a time when you were part of a team that worked well together. What role did you play? How did you show respect for others on the team?” said Snyder. Candidates’ egos can really be revealed with this answer; if they answer the question by just talking about themselves, “it’s a big red flag for us.”

When developing questions for a competency-based evaluation, it’s important to get buy-in from the staffers working in the department being recruited for, and to ask all the candidates the same questions, she said. Having a diverse panel of interviewers is also critical. “If you’re looking at an interview panel of all white males, you failed.” Also, panelists should work in a variety of positions at the company: “if you’re hiring a surgeon, you need someone from the surgery department that’s a non-provider … When you have those different inputs, you get a stronger decision.”

Benefits of Diversity

In addition to unintentional biases, practice managers need to be on the lookout for intentional ones as well, according to Marsh. For instance, “over the last 2 or 3 years, I’ve seen one of the biggest intentional biases ever creep in: politics,” said Marsh. “Five times in the last 2 years — not in group settings, but in individual meetings — I’ve heard, ‘We can’t recruit a Republican’ or ‘We can’t recruit a Democrat.’ I’ve heard it on both sides of the aisle. People have some very strong polarizing biases in the environment we’re in right now, but it has nothing to do with competency. It has nothing to do whether they’re good for this role.”

Hiring a diverse workforce results in more creativity, according to Marsh. “You have all these ideas coming in that you never would have had if everybody looked and acted the same,” he said. “If we’re able to create an environment where everybody has a voice, you’re going to have meetings — and be thankful for them — where somebody says, ‘I don’t think that’s a good idea.’ If you have an inclusive environment and welcome additional ideas, many times you’ll avoid pretty bad circumstances.”

Once a diverse workforce is on board, the next step is to work on inclusion, defined as “a feeling of belonging, a feeling of being appreciated for unique characteristics, and the extent to which employees feel valued, respected, accepted, and encouraged to fully participate,” said Marsh. And you have to have a meaningful process for addressing bias-related concerns. “You can do everything right, with all the good intentions in the world, but if you’re scared to address the issues, it all goes for naught because everybody’s watching.”

Originally published in MedPage Today

Nurse of the Week: School Nurse Annie Dyke Helps Save Student After His Heart Stops

Nurse of the Week: School Nurse Annie Dyke Helps Save Student After His Heart Stops

Our Nurse of the Week is Annie Dyke, a school nurse at Madison County Central School who helped save an eighth-grade boy after his heart stopped during gym class. 

M.J. Crumity was in the middle of a game of dodgeball in gym class when his pacemaker quit working. He collapsed on the floor and went into cardiac arrest. The coach first called the school’s resource officer, Sgt. Joey Knight, for help.

When Knight arrived, Crumity was lying unresponsive on the gym floor. Knight is a trained emergency medical technician, so he immediately began CPR until Nurse Annie arrived with an automatic external defibrillator.

They applied the defibrillator while Knight continued compressions. Once Crumity was responsive again, he was taken to the hospital and further treated there. 

Crumity has a heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, in which the heart muscle is too thick and makes it difficult for the heart to pump blood. He underwent open heart surgery at three years old to install a pacemaker. For some reason his pacemaker didn’t work on this day during gyn class though, and without the quick response of Knight and Dyke, he may not have survived. 

Dyke tells cnn.com, “[Crumity is] a walking miracle. He is here for a reason and I hope whatever he wants, that his dreams come true.”

To learn more about Annie Dyke, a school nurse at Madison County Central School who helped save an eighth-grade boy after his heart stopped during gym class, visit here


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