5B Trailblazing Innovation | Integrating the Documentary 5B into Nursing Education

Health Equity

According to the latest Future of Nursing report (2021) prepared the National Academy of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, nursing priority for the next decade should be on addressing health equity. The report calls for ensuring that all people —regardless of who they are, where they live, or how much money they make — are able to live the healthiest lives possible and acknowledges the central role nurses can play in achieving this laudable goal. Faculty can play an important role in building momentum to address health equity by:

  • Integrating content on the social determinants of health and health equity throughout nursing educational programs
  • Extending education and training beyond the classroom and traditional clinical experiences to provide experiential learning opportunities in communities where care is needed.
  • Cultivating inclusive learning environments that acknowledge and challenge racism in all aspects of nursing education and practice.
  • Intentionally recruiting, supporting, and mentoring students from diverse backgrounds to ensure that the next generation of nurses reflects the communities they serve (NASEM, 2021).

In April 2021, member deans with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) endorsed a new set of competency standards for nursing program graduates to strengthen the ability of new nurses to address health equity.  The AACN Essentials (2021) specifically call for nurses to “design policies to impact health equity and structural racism within systems, communities, and populations” and advocate for the promotion of social justice and eradication of structural racism and systematic inequity in nursing and society.” 


Questions and exercises to consider with classmates and/or colleagues:

  • Reflect on how health inequities impact health outcomes and the well-being of patients.
  • Based on readings and health disparities data, what are tangible actions nurses can engage in to promote health equity within their institutions?
  • Review and discuss current policies at your institution or in Congress that targets promotion of health equity for all consumers.
  • Reflect on the broad meaning of diversity in academic nursing and in workplace environments.
  • Reflect on your personal perspective on the meaning of diversity, equity and inclusion and the nurses’ role in these areas.

Helpful Resources

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Faculty Tool Kit
American Association of Colleges of Nursing

The Essentials: Core Competencies for Professional Nursing Education
American Association of Colleges of Nursing

Mentoring for Diversity, Success and Health Equity
Campaign for Nursing Action

Recommended Readings

Ackerman-Barger, K., London, M., & White, D. (2020). When an omitted curriculum becomes a hidden curriculum: Let’s teach to promote health equity. Journal of the Healthcare Poor and Underserved. 34(1) suppl.

Ackerman-Barger, K., Sandvold, I., Patterson, D., Brown, K.Y., & Douglas-Kersellius, N.V. (2020). Leveraging collective impact to promote health equity. Journal of the Healthcare Poor and Underserved. 34(1) suppl.

Nardi, D., Waite, R., Nowak, M., Hatcher, B., Hines-Martin, V., & Stacciarini, J-M. (2020). Achieving health equity through eradicating structural racism in the United Stated: A call to action for nursing leadership. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 52(6), 696-704. doi:10.1111/jnu.12602

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (2021). The Future of Nursing 2020-2030: Charting a Path to Achieve Health Equity. The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/25982