Although racial/ethnic minorities make up ~34% of the US population, they only represent ~25% (11.5% Black, 6.1% Latino, 7.3% Asian) of the nursing workforce, as of 2016. 👩🏽⚕️👩🏾⚕️👩🏿⚕️
Diversity among nurses is crucial for providing culturally competent care and in turn, improving health outcomes. We can also help ALL of our coworkers become more culturally aware. One of my goals is to inspire more minorities to choose nursing in order to have a workforce more representative of the US. Having someone take care of you who looks like you, has a similar culture, may speak your language, and understands you can save lives. Every few weeks I’ll feature a fellow minority to share our unique stories.
“When I began at the University of Michigan, I was undecided on what I really wanted to do. I knew I wanted to be in the medical field but definitely not a physician. During freshman year, I was in a Health Science Scholars Program, where I researched multiple careers, listened to numerous speakers, and shadowed physicians but nothing sparked my interest. My grandmother, who is a nurse, told me to research the field and ironically my roommate was in the nursing program. I began doing my research and realized the endless possibilities in nursing. I immediately knew I wanted to be a nurse practitioner working as a midwife (that changed once I did my clinical lol). I decided to apply but was discouraged after listening to other applicants talk about the extra science pre-reqs they had while I only had the minimum. I was also discouraged by my counselor because she told me the nursing program rarely admits students of color. With everything against me, I took a leap and applied. I was admitted into the nursing program at the end of my sophomore year through their RN-BSN sophomore-transfer program. I was excited and a little upset because this meant I would have to do an extra year of undergrad (which means nothing now).
Going through nursing school was tough being 1 of the 7 African American females in a class of 180 students. I believe this increased my drive to exceed. I worked as a nurse tech in the PICU at St. John during my last year of nursing school. I graduated in April 2017 with a 3.7 and passed my NCLEX with 75 questions. Job searching fortunately was fairly easy. I got offered 4 pediatric nursing positions after graduation. These included: PICU at St. John, DMC Children’s ER, Mott Children’s as float nurse, and Beaumont Children’s. I decided to choose Beaumont Children’s because of location convenience and wanting to begin my career on a general pediatric floor, so I could become more familiar with common childhood illnesses and how they are treated.
My interest to specialize in pediatric nursing started while in nursing school. During my pediatric clinical rotation, I gained great insight into what it meant to care for children. I was very intrigued about how passionate the nurses were compared to those in adult nursing. They had to play a unique role in not only supporting their young patients, but also comforting families while explaining patient conditions and providing emotional support. Initially, I couldn’t imagine having the responsibility of facing the family of a seriously ill child and standing with strength enough to not only instruct them on how to best care for their child, but to also help build their faith in the face of, in some cases, a discouraging prognosis. The realization about the innate resilience of children solidified my decision to specialize in pediatric nursing. It helped me not only feel more comfortable and confident working with the pediatric population compared to adults, it also affected the way I presented while caring for my patients. I became more confident in my ability to encourage families because I began to truly believe in the strength of children to promote healing.
After working for 2.5 years in pediatrics, I have gained so much insight into what it means to be a nurse. I have learned that it takes great responsibility, tenacity, and accountability to care for the life of another. After working for 1 year, I decided to go back to school to get my master’s as a Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. This desire was matured through my previous and current work environment. I have passion to work in underserved communities to promote health and prevent/manage childhood illnesses. Working in the city of Detroit and surrounding suburbs has allowed me to see the difference in access to healthcare and health education. I understand that there is a lack of support and opportunity, which negatively affects the health of these communities. This drove my desire to do more and increased my inclination for continuing education among this patient demographic. Working as a CPNP-PC, I will be able to make choices that I believe will benefit the community and turn my advocacy into action. After completing my education, I plan to work in an underserved community providing outreach and educational programs either in clinics or school-based settings. Long term, I plan to participate in local legislative affairs relating to children’s health policy and reform.
Sadly, there is still a lack of minorities in the field. I see this every day at my job. I try to encourage young black girls to keep pursuing this career because although it can be challenging, having minorities in nursing allows for better health outcomes of underrepresented patient populations.”
~Taylor BSN, RN