Skip to main content

Diversity Digest Newsletter: Winter 2022

Published January 27, 2022

AACN's Diversity Digest Newsletter
Winter 2022 Edition
 
Welcome to AACN's Diversity Digest Newsletter!
 
The Diversity Digest is a quarterly newsletter that highlights AACN's diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives and efforts from AACN member schools promoting DEI in the academic nursing community. Please send details about your school's DEI initiatives to cdowning@aacnnursing.org
 
For more information on AACN’s diversity initiatives, visit the AACN website.
 
In This Edition:
  • School Spotlight: Troy University
  • Featured Article: Gen Z Nurses Need Strategies on Improving Their Well-being
  • Summary of the 2021 Diversity Symposium
  • Resources for Nurse Faculty and Leadership
  • ...and more! 
School Spotlight: Troy University
Sawyer to Sarah: A Tale of a Transgender Student's Journey
 
By Dr. Elizabeth Wyckoff, Dr. Teresa Law, and Dr. Brittney Armstrong
Troy University
 
A group of colleagues in a nursing department in the deep south evaluated one student's experience transitioning to their preferred gender while in an associate degree nursing program at another institution. Sarah’s experience transitioning while in nursing school illuminates failures within and opportunities to provide support for those seeking gender affirmation. The majority of individuals within the LGBT community express their attraction preference by the time they are 17, just prior to the start of the traditional college-age within professional academic programs (Pew Research Center, 2013). Statistics show the typical age for transgender women to begin social transition is around 27 years old and 22 years old for transgender men (Zaliznyak et al., 2020). Many individuals in academic programs in health care begin their social transitions, just as Sarah did, while growing their professional identity and knowledge in health care. 
 
Sarah began having feelings of gender dysphoria at the age of 5, became openly gay at the age of 12, and identified as transgender at the age of 19, while in nursing school. Sarah did not begin using her preferred pronoun (she/her) until she could “pass” as female. She shared that the burden and hassle of correcting others while presenting mostly male was too difficult. As she began presenting more feminine, she found it easier to ask others to use her preferred pronoun and name. She did encounter difficulties with the name badge given to her to use in the clinical setting, feeling it was too difficult to change while in nursing school after having a difficult time changing with this same issue in her job setting. She feared patients may not want her caring for them if they saw she was transgender (appearing female but having a male name on her badge).
 
Featured Article
Generation Z Nurses Need Strategies to Improve Their Wellbeing
 
By Dr. Wanda Thruston, Director Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, AACN
 
In May 2022, schools of nursing across the United States will graduate future registered nurses who have received nearly all their nursing education during the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of these soon-to-be college graduates are young adult members of Generation Z (ages 18-24). These young adults have grown up in uncertain times, prompted by their early exposure to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, weather disasters, school shootings, and now the coronavirus where they have witnessed or experienced health disparities, racial injustices, economic insecurity, and adverse mental health issues. These issues have led many Generation Zers (Gen Z) to be pragmatic, guarded, and worried about their emotional, physical, and financial security.
 
Under normal circumstances, stress and anxiety are common for undergraduate nursing students balancing their heavy didactic course work, stringent clinicals, and the pressure to succeed in their academic and personal lives. However, while these students were studying to become nurses during the pandemic, they had to adjust to virtual learning, simulation exercises instead of in-person clinical experiences, and train in the acute care settings where nursing and other healthcare staff are mentally and physically exhausted from being on the frontlines of the COVID-19 battle. Adding to the stress and anxiety, many underrepresented minority nursing student peers have experienced even more adverse mental health concerns. They suffered from COVID-19 infections and deaths within their families and communities at a much higher rate than their white classmates. They often disproportionately lacked technology and internet connectivity, experienced housing and food insecurity, and had increased anxiety over the racial and social injustices that were revealed during this time.
 
2021 Diversity Symposium Summary
Diversity Symposium - November 9-10, 2021 Strategize and Mobilize: Implementing DEI in Academic Nursing
 
The 2021 Diversity Symposium was a virtual conference held November 9-10, 2021. Nearly 600 registrations were received for this event. The conference opened with a land recognition offered by Dr. Bette Jacobs, a Professor of Health Systems Administration at Georgetown University. Mr. Glenn Singleton presented the opening plenary session with an introduction to Courageous Conversation™. This initial engagement with Courageous Conversation™ guided an exploration of the life impact and promoted an essential literacy and consciousness to examine personal, professional, and organizational ways of being. Designed to meet participants at whatever their level of experience, the introduction to Courageous Conversation™ enhanced efforts to promote racial equity.
 
AACN Opportunities and Resources
AACN's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leadership Network
 
AACN’S newest leadership network, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leadership Network (DEILN), supports the efforts of AACN member institutions and academic nursing at the local, regional, and national levels to advance diversity and inclusion. The DEILN serves as a convening body to unite expertise, experience, and guidance for academic nursing in Leading Across Differences. This network collectively explores innovative approaches to enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in academic nursing and the nursing workforce.
 
Membership in the DEILN is open to all faculty, deans, and staff with an interest in advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion goals. To date, more than 210 DEI leaders are active in this network.
 
 
Meet the DEILN Steering Committee
dr-rolanda_2121609.png
 
Chair: Rolanda Johnson,
PhD, MSN, RN
 
Vanderbilt University 
 
dr-kendra_2121611.png
 
Chair-Elect: Kendra Barrier, PhD, MSN, RN, CNE
 
Louisiana State University Health New Orleans 
dr-mitchell_2121622.png
 
Secretary: Mitchell Wharton, PhD, RN, FNP-BC, CNS
 
University of Rochester 
This network will be of particular interest to diversity officers, administrators responsible for multicultural/diversity affairs, and those serving in or aspiring to similar roles.
 
New Resource: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Faculty Tool Kit
 
In August 2021, AACN released the Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Faculty Tool Kit. This resource is designed to help schools of nursing expand the capacity of faculty to grow personally and professionally and recognize challenges, barriers, and opportunities to promoting inclusive academic excellence.
 
The AACN Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Tool Kit is designed to:
  • Align the dimensions of the Inclusive Excellence Ecosystem for Academic Nursing to assist nursing schools with organizing and guiding diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts.
     
  • Inform nursing schools of promising practices and strategies for promoting DEI and fostering inclusive excellence.
     
  • Assist faculty with promoting and welcoming academic environments that embrace diverse life experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds.
     
  • Serve as a catalyst for reflection and assessment of current pedagogy, teaching methods, and curricular strategies for inclusive teaching and learning environments.
Watch Now: AACN's Inclusive Excellence Webinar Series 
 
AACN's recent Inclusive Excellence Webinar series were designed to highlight the resources and recommendations presented in AACN’s new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Faculty Tool Kit. Each session features opportunities for dialogue and discussion led by members of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leadership Network who contributed to the development of the tool kit.
 
The series is now available on-demand! Click each link below to access the recording. 
Additional Opportunities and Resources
National Commission to Address Racism in Nursing 
 
In January 2021, leading nursing organizations, including AACN, launched the National Commission to Address Racism in Nursing. The Commission was formed to focus on racism within nursing nationwide and describe the impact on nurses, patients, communities, and health systems with a goal to motivate all nurses to confront systemic racism. It is comprised of leading nursing organizations that represent a broad continuum of nursing practice, ethnically diverse groups, nationally and in regions across the country and who have for years raised their individual voices to condemn all forms of racism within society. 
 
The Commission examined the persistent problem of racism within nursing and described the impact on nurses, patients, communities, and health care systems. The work for nurses to confront systemic racism that creates safe and liberating environments for all nurses as well as creates a profession that exemplifies inclusivity, diversity, and equity is urgent. 
 
A series of listening sessions were conducted to facilitate an in-depth exploration and to capture the experiences of how racism had an impact on professional practice and advancement within the profession shared by BIPOC nurses in academic and healthcare settings. Learn more about the Commission and their important work here
 
On January 25, 2022, the Commission findings from their national survey of over 5,600 nurses revealed racism is a substantial problem for the profession. Fully, 63% of surveyed nurses have experienced racism in the workplace, with the transgressors being either a peer (66%), a patient (63%), or a manager/supervisor (60%). Further, 57% of nurses have challenged racism in work settings, but more than half said their efforts resulted in no change. The Commission urges all nurses to confront individual and systemic racism while seeking a greater understanding of racism’s impact on the profession, patients, and colleagues. 
Recent Study Released on Admissions Lotteries
 
Many advocates for more equitable college admissions policies have called for random-draw lotteries as an alternative approach to increasing diversity in college admissions. However, simulations of lottery admissions conducted in a new study find dramatic and negative potential effects of lotteries on the admission of students of color, low-income students, and men. The research, by Dominique Baker of Southern Methodist University and Michael Bastedo of the University of Michigan, was published in the Educational Researcher, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association.
 
The study is the first to examine the potential impact of multiple criteria for lottery eligibility—including grade point averages and SAT/ACT scores with varying minimum thresholds—with findings consistent across all conditions tested. View the study here