Addressing Racism in Nursing and Health Care: A Q&A with Nadia Raymond
Nadia Raymond, PhD, MSN/MHA, RN, regional nursing director at Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center, has long been an active leader in efforts to promote equity and dismantle racism in health care.
Most recently, Raymond has partnered with peers, including co-author Justin Drew, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, of Middlesex Health, and the Organization of Nurse Leaders (ONL), to develop a toolkit that will help nurses everywhere address racism and nurture a culture of diversity and inclusion. The Brigham’s Megan Matson, DNP, RN, CCRN-K, CENP, assistant nursing director, also contributed to the toolkit.
Covering six topic areas, the toolkit provides standard definitions for terms such as “systemic racism” and “intersectionality,” as well as lists of resources for additional learning about each topic.
In this Q&A, Raymond details the robust resources the toolkit offers and explains the unique position of nurses and nursing leaders in advancing diversity, equity and inclusion.
How did the toolkit come about?
NR: A few years ago, the ONL and the New England Regional Black Nurses Association (NERBNA) began partnering to take action against racism. As part of this work, I was involved in an effort to develop a Nurses’ Pledge to Champion Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity. The toolkit was part of an action plan after we published the pledge. My co-author and I, along with the ONL Diversity, Equity, Inclusivity, and Belonging Task Force, wanted to pull together existing literature and resources into one accessible toolkit for nurses and nursing leaders.
What do you hope the toolkit will accomplish?
NR: I hope that nurses and nursing leaders will evolve from being a witness to finding a voice – through taking the pledge – and then using the toolkit to help us navigate these complex waters.
Our goal is for nurses and nursing leaders to use this toolkit to help facilitate a dialogue about racism, implicit bias, diversity, and inclusion, with the ultimate goal of improving the care they provide and the culture in which they work.
How are nurses and nursing leaders positioned to affect change?
NR: In the toolkit, we write about how nursing is the largest health care workforce and has a presence in nearly every care setting. Because of this, nurses can truly make an impact and ignite change in our communities ― especially when we work together. Nurses and nursing leaders also have the ability to engage in difficult conversations when many opinions and emotions are involved. We want the toolkit to serve as a framework to support nurses in having conversations that help us to advance diversity, equity, inclusivity and belonging in all health care settings.
Would other roles benefit from the toolkit as well?
NR: Absolutely. Nurses and nursing leaders were our primary audience in creating this toolkit for the reasons above, but everyone can benefit from the depth and breadth of resources we compiled.
What advice do you have for nurses and nursing leaders beginning to have conversations about these issues?
NR: I would encourage people to take the time to go through the toolkit, especially the guiding principles we developed. These encourage people to first reflect on their own biases and practice self-awareness. You also want to lead conversations with empathy and create a “safer space” for people to participate. You can do this by monitoring the tone of conversations and allowing people to share feelings and emotions, while finding ways to strive for accountability and preserve boundaries.
How can people learn more?
NR: The toolkit is available publicly via the ONL website, and I welcome anyone to reach out to me at email@example.com with questions or thoughts.