Newswise — Penn Nursing Science and the Office of Diversity and Cultural Affairs hosted scholastic leaders from across the country on Tuesday to tackle the issues related to increasing inclusivity and diversity in academic nursing.
During the Diversity in Academic Nursing: A Time to Build forum, participants discussed the programs and resources that support the development and retention of nursing scholars, learned about the trajectories of success for several nurse scientists at different stages of their careers , and discussed the critical role of mentor/mentee relationships based on inclusive and equitable partnership.
“Diversity of thought, heritage, culture, race and gender in nursing is a goal that demands continual improvement,” said Penn Nursing Dean Afaf I. Meleis, PhD, DrPS (hon), FAAN, FRCN. “In nursing, we must strive to attract and retain diverse faculty who can train a cadre of diverse nurse researchers who, in turn, can develop the science and train the nurses who will be able to provide culturally competent care to an increasingly diverse population.”
Action items discussed during the forum included:
• Develop metrics to help nursing institutions measure progress toward a more diverse and inclusive environment.
• Partner with admissions departments to help inform the criteria for selecting more ethnically and culturally diverse students.
• Develop accountability goals for faculty and staff to meet in the promotion of diversity.
• Take a proactive approach in identifying students to mentor and actively seek learning opportunities for them.
• Determine the components of a toolkit that could be used by faculty to learn how to have conversations in classrooms about cultural inclusion.
“We can envision an environment that celebrates the benefits of diversity but we must be committed to using all resources possible to mentor and develop rising nursing scholars from all backgrounds,” encouraged Loretta Sweet Jemmott, PhD, FAAN, RN, interim associate dean for diversity and inclusivity at Penn Nursing.
Forum participants included academic deans, program directors, junior faculty, postdoctoral fellows, predoctoral students, professional nursing associations and representatives from the National Institute of Nursing Research, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholars Program, and the American Academy of Nursing.