AMSN Launches Far-Reaching DEI Campaign

Press Release

Anti-racism in Health Care: The Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses Launches Far-Reaching Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity Campaign  

Members of the media: Please contact AMSN Communications Director Janet D'Alesandro at janetd@ajj.com; 856-256-2422, for more information or to interview an AMSN leader.

PITMAN, NJ – Recognizing that urgent change is needed to fight racism and inequity in America’s health care system, the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses (AMSN) has launched a sweeping initiative that will provide education and awareness to nurses and health care professionals across the industry. 

“The goal of the program is to open conversations and drive change,” AMSN CEO Terri Hinkley, EdD, MBA, BScN, RN, CAE, said. “We must acknowledge that racism, unconscious bias, and white privilege run deep throughout the health care system.”

The program – identified as AMSN’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusiveness (DEI) Initiative – is taking a multi-faceted approach. Projects include a DEI nursing certificate course as well as broad communication efforts to boost understanding and encourage self-examination of both individuals and organizations.

AMSN believes that DEI is a competency for nurses, Dr. Hinkley said. In a recent survey of its members, 75% of the respondents noted they wanted to increase their understanding of DEI issues. Also in the survey, 46% of respondents said they had been harassed or discriminated against because of their race, class, gender, age, religion, culture, sexuality, or ability. Additionally, 63% reported they have witnessed these actions.

“Not only do they face these issues themselves, but because nurses work directly with patients and communities, they are key leaders in solving DEI challenges,” Dr. Hinkley said.

Leading the Campaign
A steering committee has been appointed to guide AMSN’s DEI consultants, staff, and volunteers, Dr. Hinkley said. The committee is comprised of a diverse group of professionals with expertise in such areas as gender and diversity research, personality assessment, human resources, cultural transformation, progressive leadership, and social justice.

The committee will begin their work in April, and the rollout of projects will span 18-24 months, with all efforts ongoing.

“Work on this will never stop,” Dr. Hinkley said. She added that AMSN also intends to share methods and results of the campaign as a case study for other organizations to model.

In addition to its outward focus on broader health care practices, Hinkley said AMSN will also look within and do a comprehensive assessment of the organization’s own processes to ensure diversity and inclusiveness.

“We want to focus on unpacking and educating people on the challenges we’ve encountered ourselves, as well as any unconscious barriers we have as an organization,” she said.

In addition to the steering committee, AMSN is assembling a DEI volunteer task force of AMSN members for the campaign. The task force will be a diverse group of nurses who will be charged with initiating conversations among members through AMSN’s communications platforms.

The task force will also develop member awareness tools, create a position statement, and help AMSN change any areas of bias or discrimination within the association.

Program Components
The DEI education course will contain six modules and will cover both patient care DEI issues as well as actions nurses can take to foster a healthy workplace. Course content includes such areas as race, sexual orientation, ageism, religion, and ethnicity. Demonstrating the organization’s commitment to building DEI competency, the AMSN Board of Directors is offering the first module of the certificate program free for all AMSN members.
 
For the awareness campaign, AMSN will present DEI information via the association’s print, electronic, and social media channels. This includes AMSN’s peer-reviewed journal, magazine, newsletters, blogs, and podcast. News about the campaign will be shared regularly with AMSN members and also externally with the public, the nursing and health care industries, and U.S. policymakers.
 
A Model Program
AMSN Past President Robin Hertel, EdS, MSN, RN, CMSRN, has been appointed AMSN Board Leader for the DEI campaign. She will act as liaison to the steering committee and task force.

“We began our anti-racism work in 2020 with our anti-racism pledge,” Hertel said. “Knowing that was just the beginning, we started formulating a broader DEI initiative. As we did so, many other nursing leaders told me they were seeking a DEI model so they could build their own programs. This is a powerful aspect of the campaign – it will reach far beyond AMSN and spark industry-wide awareness and change.”

Hertel explained that AMSN is focused on catalyzing a shift in the culture of health care by “changing the conversations to address the issues rather than stepping gingerly around them.”

“We’re building coalitions with other professional organizations that seek to address DEI issues within health care and creating a wide network of change agents within professional organizations, practice settings, and communities,” she said. “It’s about creating visibility and accountability for the metrics we’ve established.”

Committed to the Work Ahead
“There is great need for DEI, and we’re aware of the challenges ahead, however AMSN’s Board of Directors believes strongly in this work,” Hertel said. “We’re focused on advancing DEI, not only within our organization but among nurses, members of the health care team, our patients and the communities we serve and live in.”

In the AMSN member survey, 93% of respondents said they felt it was important that their national nursing association take action on DEI for their members. In addition, nurses are consistently ranked Americans’ most trusted professionals, making them ideal leaders for DEI awareness.

“Equity of opportunity among our colleagues, and equality of care for all people is at the core of what we believe in as nurses, yet we know that this vision has yet to be realized because implicit bias and care inequities exist,” Hertel said. “AMSN acknowledges that the DEI initiative will involve addressing uncomfortable topics and challenging implicit and unconscious biases but being a leader is often about doing uncomfortable things.”

Terri HinkleyAn article in the amsn blog by
The Ongoing Need for DEI Initiatives, by Terri Hinkley, EdD, MBA, BScN, RN, CAE Chief Executive Officer, AMSN & MSNCB.

AMSN first spoke out on issues of DEI with an anti-racism pledge in June 2020. We committed to doing more and we have been working to make that happen. I wanted to provide an update on the work we have been doing and our next steps. Before I do that, though, I thought I would share some data on why this work remains critically important for AMSN. Read the article.

Members of the Media
If you would like to interview Robin Hertel or Dr. Terri Hinkley, please contact AMSN Communications Director Janet D'Alesandro at janetd@ajj.com; 856-256-2422.

About AMSN
The Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses (AMSN) is a dynamic community of medical-surgical who are committed to quality patient care through professional development, certification, scholarship, and advocacy.

 

 

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