Diversity Digest: Spring 2023 Edition

AACN's Diversity Digest Newsletter
The Diversity Digest is a quarterly newsletter highlighting diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives launched by AACN and member schools of nursing. Please send details about your school's DEI initiatives to cdowning@aacnnursing.org. Click here for more information on AACN’s DEI priorities. 
In This Edition:
  • AACN Statement on Supporting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Academic Nursing
  • Featured Article: Making the Case for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Nursing Education
  • School Spotlight: Empowering Faculty and Students to Be Emerging DEI Leaders
  • ...and more!
AACN Statement on Supporting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
in Academic Nursing
The following statement was approved by the AACN Board of Directors at their meeting in Washington, DC on March 26, 2023:
As the collective voice for academic nursing, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) stands firm in our commitment to meeting current and future healthcare needs. An expanding body of research shows the importance of a diverse and inclusive nursing workforce for reducing health disparities, addressing social determinants of health, and improving patient outcomes (AACN, 2023NASEM, 2021). We have a responsibility to protect the public and prepare nurses in alignment with the scope of professional nursing practice. However, legislative proposals recently introduced in several states could interfere with this work. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are concepts that support the preparation of nurses who will contribute to improving access to and the quality of care for all people (AACN, 2017). The exclusion of these concepts will reduce healthcare access, patient safety, and our ability to prepare a nursing workforce able to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse patient population. AACN will continue to champion diversity, equity, and inclusion while promoting the development of a more diverse and inclusive student, staff, and faculty population. We stand ready to assist nursing schools in their efforts to ensure equitable health care for all people.
Featured Article
Making the Case for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Nursing Education
by Ashley Sonke, MEd, AACN DEI Consultant and former Director of Nursing Admissions for California Baptist University’s College of Nursing 
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are critical concepts within the realm of nursing education. Although not unique to the nursing education environment, DEI efforts play a significant role in the development of nurses’ knowledge to increase their ability to address health disparities and inequities.
The Business Case for Diversity
For over 25 years since the publication of Workforce 2000 by the Department of Education, there has been evidence which supports the importance of having a diverse workforce. Simply put, diverse workplaces are more profitable and successful than homogenous ones. According to a McKinsey report, companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians. Additionally, companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians. While increasing diversity brings financial results, more importantly to healthcare organizations, it has shown to improve the quality of population health and care for all people. (Gomez et al., 2019).
Supportive evidence shows that diverse teams bring diverse perspectives and ideas, which can lead to more creative problem-solving and innovation (Hunt et al., 2015). Additionally, diverse teams see through different cultural lenses to better understand, engage with, and serve the diverse population in the United States. In nursing education and practice, this translates to improved population health that addresses the social determinants of health, patient satisfaction, adherence to care, and quality outcomes (Raghu et al., 2021).
School Spotlight
Empowering Faculty and Students to Be Emerging DEI Leaders
by Frontier Nursing University Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Paula Alexander-Delpech, PhD, PMHNP-BC, APRN
Over the past 15 years, Frontier Nursing University (FNU) has built the institutional structure and framework to be a leader in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). These initial steps included forming the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, a Board of Directors DEI Committee, and thoroughly examining and revising the curriculum, policies, and recruitment and retention goals. The success of these efforts has paved the way for the next phase of FNU’s DEI progress. These initiatives intend to engage students and faculty further to participate in DEI conversations and structure and become leaders in the university’s informed decision-making process. 
In the summer of 2022, FNU established five Student Interest Groups (SIGs). The groups, which are free and open to all FNU students, include:
  • International Students in Nursing 
  • LGBTQIA+ Students in Nursing 
  • Men in Nursing 
  • Military/Veterans in Nursing 
  • Students of Color in Nursing 
Faculty members serve as advisors, but the students organize and lead the monthly meetings. No minutes are kept, and the meetings are not recorded, allowing for honest and open discussion. Students already embrace the opportunity to lead and impact change within the university and beyond. For example, the Students of Color in Nursing SIG is creating a reporting process for students who experience racism within their clinical settings or during their didactic courses. The Veterans in Nursing SIG is establishing an FNU Chapter of the Student Veterans of America. In the near future, a neurodiversity/neurodivergent student interest group will be formed.
Opportunities and Resources
Upcoming AACN Webinar
Legislation Restricting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Harms Nursing Workforce Development 
Several legislative bills are being introduced within state legislatures that educators and healthcare providers may not be aware of or know how to respond to. Yet, these bills can have an enormous effect on admissions, academic curricula, policy, and programs. This webinar helps academic leaders, faculty, and other stakeholders identify actionable steps that can be taken to thwart bills that aim to prevent diversity, equity, and inclusion education.
June 1, 2023 • 2:00 - 3:00 PM (ET)
Recognize Excellence at Your School: AACN's Diversity, Inclusion, and Sustainability in Nursing Education Award 
AACN is currently accepting applications for the 2023 Diversity, Inclusion, and Sustainability in Nursing Education Lectureship Award. This award recognizes outstanding contributions made by schools of nursing for their strong commitment and impact on advancing diversity, inclusion, health equity, cultural humility, and community outreach. Annual awards may be made to one school in each of the following categories: Public Colleges/Universities, Private College/Universities, Small Liberal Arts Colleges, and Academic Health Centers.
Diversity is defined as individual attributes that extend beyond race, age, and gender to also include, but are not limited to, characteristics such as national origin, immigrant status, language, color, disability, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, veteran status, and family structures. Inclusion is defined as a culture that encourages collaboration, flexibility, and fairness as well as leverages diversity so that all individuals are able to participate and contribute to their full potential. An inclusive environment must be created in order for diversity to flourish. Sustainability occurs when structures and strategies, to manage diversity and institutionalize a culture of inclusion, are in place.
Application Deadline: May 15, 2023
Apply Now: AACN's Diversity Leadership Institute 
The application cycle is open for the 2024 Institute!  
AACN’s Diversity Leadership Institute provides an overview of the current state of diversity, equity, and inclusion in academic nursing and the role of Diversity Officers in nursing education and practice. Program facilitators frame DEI within the context of higher education and academic nursing while presenting high-involvement strategies and practices that can be deployed at schools of nursing.
When you participate in the Diversity Leadership Institute, you will: 
  • Gain new knowledge and experiences designed to stimulate strategic thinking and elevate impact.
  • Increase self-awareness while building skills and capacity to lead change and launch successful DEI-focused initiatives.
  • Develop a diversity plan designed to drive excellence and meet local needs.
  • Present your project to colleagues and have your work showcased on the AACN website.
View the posters and projects of past cohort members here
Nursing Organizations Alliance to Host Advocacy Webinar Series
NOA recognizes the importance of advocacy and the role that nursing organizations and their members make to shape policy and bring change. Plan to participate in their 3-part webinar series showcasing common obstacles that can hinder nurses from reaching their goals. 
Wednesday, May 10 - 3:00-4:15 PM (ET)
Finding & Using Your Voice for Civic Good - Part 1 - A Foundation for Legislative Involvement with Gladys M. Campbell, MSN, RN, NC-BC, FAAN
Thursday, May 11 - 3:00-4:15 pm (ET)
Finding & Using Your Voice for Civic Good - Part 2 - Policy, Advocacy Lobbying, and Testimony with Gladys M. Campbell, MSN, RN, NC-BC, FAAN
Monday, May 15 - 3:00-4:00 pm (ET)
Seizing Opportunities to Advance Advocacy and Political Activism at the Local Level with Janice Phillips, PhD, RN, CENP, FAAN