I am thrilled to announce the release of the 9th Edition of Peace and Power – now published by Cognella – a relatively young publisher focusing on excellence “rooted in passion, collaboration, and collective well-being” (https://cognella.com/company-culture/).
The book retains the essential elements that so many have come to appreciate and have used to shape action. The content, however, reflects current realities that have emerged from a much greater involvement in virtual meetings that arose from the necessities of the COVID-19 pandemic. Another major feature of the book is a central focus on anti-racism action, content that was developed from the real-life activism of the “Overdue Reckoning on Racism in Nursing” project.
The book is available on the Cognella website here as a paperback edition, and an electronic version. It will be available on Amazon Kindle and B&N Nook soon!
Latino and African American people are disproportionately impacted by Alzheimer’s. In fact, by 2030 African Americans and Latinos will make up 40 percent of Alzheimer’s patients in the United States. To combat this, these communities need equal access to healthcare and more information about brain health from people they trust – and nurses are among the most trusted voices in communities across the country.
Dr. Dyanne Rodriguez, RN, has earned her MPH from the University of Alaska Anchorage and DNP from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her work as a public health nurse leader includes a focus on education, Canadian and U.S healthcare systems, health promotion and outreach. Dr. Rodriguez has committed her focus in public health through collaborating with communities and healthcare team members. She currently works in urban/rural acute care centers, is a faculty lecturer and an active community member.
My heart has been heavy the last few days. Every time I open my social media pages, I am reminded of the tragedy that occurred in Dallas on October 22, 2022. Two healthcare workers, a nurse and a social worker, were senselessly killed while only trying to provide care. A few days before this incident, a psychiatric nurse practitioner was stabbed to death by her patient. These incidents are mere drops in the bucket when it comes to violence against nurses.
In 2019, the American Journal for Managed Care published an article titled “Violence Against Healthcare Workers: A Rising Epidemic” by Wallace Stephens. The article discusses how workplace violence against healthcare workers has risen as reported by emergency department physicians. The article further points out that while 70% of staff reported acts of violence, only 3% pressed charges. Furthermore, the article points out that healthcare has become like factory work. Staffing challenges, sicker patients, and less resources have stretched healthcare’s limits. Expectations of family and patients are high, leaving healthcare workers unable to meet their demands. Being able to “manage” the workload simply isn’t enough.
A Press Ganey analysis showed that, on average, 2 nurses are attacked every hour in the United States. Attackers included patients, family member, coworkers, visitors and intruders (Putka, 2022). It is important to note, that not all workplace violence is physical. Verbal assaults occur more frequently than physical assaults and come most often from patients, followed by their family members and/or visitors (Kim et al., 2021).
I have been a nurse for over 20 years. In those years, I cannot recall a single year that went by without some form of assault. While mostly verbal, I have also experienced physical assault. In the course of providing care, I have been cursed at more times that I can even think. I have been told I am stupid. I have been slapped, kicked, pinched. I have been grabbed to the point of having bruises on my arms. All for the sake of patient care. While my positive nursing experiences far outweigh these negative ones, I found myself questioning if those were the reasons I left bedside nursing. Had it become too much for me?
I see the posts on social media. The RN badge with the black line through it. The show of support, solidarity. But I also know that this is temporary. We will forget. We will move on to the next thing. In honesty, what have we accomplished? Our profile showed how much we “cared”, for a day, maybe a week. What have we accomplished?
Nurses are one of the largest professions in the United States. There is the old saying “power in numbers”. We have the numbers. Why do we not have the power?
After the shooting that killed 2 healthcare workers in Dallas, American Nurses Association president Ernest Gant released this statement: “We mourn for the individuals who horrifically lost their lives, and we extend heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones of the victims. Time is up. Violence against nurses is unacceptable. This must end now.”
Violence against healthcare workers must end. It is dangerous not only to those providing care, patients are suffering. We are suffering. We have the numbers. Now is the time to use those numbers. To gather and speak up against these violent acts. It is time to do more than change our social media profile picture for a day or two.
How can you make a difference? Talk to your legislators. Go to their offices. Write them letters. VOTE!. Time is up. It is now time to take action and become involved. It is time to use our power of numbers to make a difference for ourselves and future nurses.
Kim, S., Mayer, C., & Jones, C. B. (2021). Relationships between nurses’ experiences of workplace violence, emotional exhaustion and patient safety. Journal of Research in Nursing, 26(1-2), 35–46. https://doi.org/10.1177/1744987120960200
Serena is a nurse education specialist with a passion for nurse advocacy. Serena is currently pursuing a PhD in Nursing Science at Texas Woman’s University. She earned her MSN-Nursing Education from the University of Houston in 2019. Serena is actively involved with Texas Nurses Association, including Nurse Day at The Capitol. We have the power, we just need to use it.
Euro-American women who become involved in nursing and who adopt its values with respect to homogeneity and conflict avoidance must be prepared to accept the consequences of reproducing their own traditions and the means by which these traditions maintain racism in their profession and their society.BARBEE, 1993
When I initially read the statement, I didn’t feel anything. Then I thought for a minute to understand why. I have been here before only to then experience disappointment. I will explain why I have issues with ANA’s Racial Reckoning.
First, nurses of color cannot be asked to forgive. This is a major flaw that I see in their statement. And in my opinion, it is offensive to ask for forgiveness. I will not forgive, not now. Not without action. What I want is to see action to heal the harm, action to confront daily acts of harm still being heaped on people of color, action to speak openly about racism that persists, action to heed the voices of nurses of color, action to center the voices of nurses of color in creating a just and nurturing new reality for nurses of color. When I see your actions, I will gradually come to trust that your intentions are real. Forgiveness will not build this trust. Only action will.
The actions outlined in the Racial Reckoning statement are a good start. Now we need to see these actions begin to grow into reality. The reason I feel strongly about this statement is because through the writings of Black historians and Black nursing scholars, such as Dr. Darlene Clark Hine, Dr. Mary Elizabeth Carnegie, and Dr. Evelyn Barbee. I learned how racism has always been a part of nursing history.
Racism has existed in nursing since the development of institutionalized nursing programs (Carnegie, 1986; Hine, 1989). Although nursing care existed in Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color, nursing programs denied admission to racialized people solely based on the color of their skin (Carnegie, 1986; Hine, 1989).
The harm from racism in nursing runs deep; lost dreams, lost opportunities, trauma from doing the work without recognition, caring for patients in environments that were not safe. Nurses of color continue to work hard to demonstrate how they belong to all areas of nursing. For example, Filipino nurses were disproportionately assigned to care for the sickest COVID patients, relegated to night shifts, and subsequently suffered disproportionately from COVID, and many died (Nazareno and others, 2021). A painful part of nursing history is when nurses of color have sought the support of professional nursing organizations, such as the ANA, and were rejected. Nurses of color were disappointed by lack of interest in the issues that impacted them (Barbee, 1993).
ANA needs to acknowledge this history and the harm that was caused. The historical beliefs about nurses of color not having the ability to be nurses, policies in place that created challenges for admission to nursing programs, the barriers that prevented nurses of color from having access to the resources for developmental and educational growth or safe working environments that are free of racism (Barbee, 1993; Nazareno and others, 2021; Spratlen, 2006).
Everything about the ANA’s Racial Reckoning Statement is anonymous. There is no indication of who actually wrote any of this — the racial reckoning statement or the FAQs. Who from the ANA wrote the Racial Reckoning statement? Who wrote the questions and responses in the FAQs? The statement made frequent use of anonymous quotes. Accountability requires agency. To demonstrate that one is ready for action, you cannot hide behind anonymity.
It is appropriate for the Apology to come from a “white voice” – but the actions and the intentions moving forward need to reflect the wisdom and leadership of nurses of color.
The FAQ’s are questions that white nurses would ask, but the FAQs require the voices of Nurses of Color.
For nursing to become an anti-racist discipline, decolonization of racist structures is required. This begins by centering primarily on the knowledge generated by nurses of color. We who are Black, Indigenous, Latina/o, and other Nurses of Color, have drawn from our experiences to produce a significant and growing body of knowledge for the Discipline of Nursing. Although our work is underutilized, our literature provides guidance for decolonizing all areas of nursing, policy changes, nursing curriculum, nursing research, and nursing leadership (Barbee, 1994; Canty and others, 2022).
Over the next weeks, months, year, nurses of color, allies and co-conspirators will continue to discuss the ANA Racial Reckoning and how we will move forward.
Carnegie, M. E. (1986). The path we tread : Blacks in nursing, 1854-1984. Lippincott.
Hine, D. C. (1989). Black women in white : racial conflict and cooperation in the nursing profession, 1890-1950. Indiana University Press.
Nazareno, J., Yoshioka, E., Adia, A. C., Restar, A., Operario, D., & Choy, C. C. (2021). From imperialism to inpatient care: Work differences of Filipino and White registered nurses in the United States and implications for COVID-19 through an intersectional lens. Gend Work Organ, 28(4), 1426-1446. doi:10.1111/gwao.12657
Spratlen, L.P. (2001). African American Registered Nurses in Seattle: The Struggle for Opportunity and Success. Peanut Butter Publishing.
Following up from the first “unveiling” of the video stories from participants in our “Overdue Reckoning on Racism in Nursing,” this zoom gathering will feature three thematic films that feature the storytellers.* The themes are “Racism in Nursing Education-Undergrad”, “Caring Against the Grain” and “Patient Race Bias”. After viewing the films, participants will engage with one another to discuss paths forward to create change.
When: Monday, October 17, 2022, 1:00pm to 4:00pm Eastern
American Sign Language and Live Captioning will be provided.