Leading by example, the College of Nursing reaffirmed its commitment to diversity and inclusion in nursing education with a recent “Diversity in the Nursing Curriculum” webinar.
Assistant Dean for Diversity, Inclusion and Global Affairs and College of Nursing Associate Professor Jeanne-Marie Stacciarini, PhD, RN, FAAN, assembled an expert virtual panel on April 23 featuring nursing faculty from other universities and a senior BSN student to dialogue about diversity, inclusion and anti-racism approaches with faculty and staff.
“This event is just one of the many steps the College of Nursing is taking as part of our mission to advance equity in the health care system,” Stacciarini said. “Our future Gator Nurses will have a strong foundation in considering diverse perspectives, advocating for all patients and understanding that racism is a barrier to health equity.”
The College of Nursing also plans to maintain its status as a nursing leader by continuing the charge for inclusivity in education.
“Since the days of Dorothy M. Smith, we have pursued excellence and innovation in many ways,” said Anna McDaniel, PhD, RN, FAAN, College of Nursing dean and the Linda Harman Aiken Professor. “However, we can’t change anything about the world we live in if we don’t invest in the next generation. Each one of us can make a difference in the fight against injustice, but it starts with our students.”
The event opened with a lecture from Sandra Davis, PhD, DPM, ACNP-BC, FAANP, associate professor and assistant dean for diversity, equity and inclusion at George Washington University School of Nursing. Davis spoke about the history of racism in the United States and shared her framework for addressing the inequalities minority groups face in health care.
Through committing to be anti-racist, Davis said nursing students and faculty will be able to address racism and integrate discussions on the subject into the learning environment
“Nursing as a profession embraces empathy and treating all patients the same, but anti-racism is a state of being,” Davis said. “It’s an ongoing examination to promote health equity and social justice.”
During her segment, College of Nursing BSN senior Sarah White shared the efforts she has taken to develop suggestions to increase LGBTQ+ inclusion in the college’s curriculum. White was also invited on April 13 to present her research at the Bouchet Spring Symposium Lightning Talks, a symposium held through the Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honors Society.
Working under the mentorship of Sally Bethart DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, PHNA-BC, CNE, College of Nursing clinical assistant professor, White reviewed literature covering the common challenges faced by LGBTQ+ individuals in health care in order to make suggestions for course changes — such as an increased focus on transgender patient interactions in simulations — and to help nurses become better prepared to enter the workforce.
Desiree Diaz, PhD, RN-BC, CNE, CHSE-A, ANEF, FAAN, associate professor from the University of Central Florida’s College of Nursing closed the webinar with a discussion on the role that a patient’s heritage has in the way they receive care and interpret health care advice.
According to Diaz, it is important to consider the cultural heritage of patients when speaking to them one on one. Patients from certain ethnic backgrounds may be at a higher risk of developing health complications and be less likely to discuss their health with others, putting them at a greater risk of developing diseases like cancer.
After her presentation, Diaz said she hopes students will be able to keep these thoughts top-of-mind and remember to be culturally conscious when encouraging their future patients to make lasting changes.
“Culture plays into every aspect of care, from diagnosis to treatment,” Diaz said. “It’s important to consider how even asking a patient to make changes to their diet may be asking them to give up their way of life.”