Reimagining Health for All through Nursing Leadership
On the forefront to improve health for everyone, everywhere
The Coronavirus pandemic, the reckoning of systemic racism, the negative impacts of global climate change, the chipping away of constitutional norms in the U.S., and myriad other global calamities created a perfect storm in 2020 that today forces nurses, who are on the frontlines globally, to reimagine the future and establish a new normal.
As the Chi Eta Phi Education Foundation begins to reimagine the future of nursing leadership, it is imperative that we embrace the values of diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and social justice (DEIB+SJ). We must broaden our perspectives and develop new insights on the world. We must commit to building sound and purposeful skills in our nursing students and help practicing nurses to grow and further develop critical leadership skills. We must also reach out to global communities using nursing and public health science to create what the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation calls the culture of health. This is key for nurses to lead from the future.
According to Verna A. Myers, a noted inclusion strategist, cultural change catalyst, influencer, thought leader, social commentator, and author: “Diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance, and belonging is being asked to share your playlist in the party context.”
In this overview of values the CEP Education Foundation embraces how nurses and nursing communities must confront the inconceivable uncertainties we face in the new normal and reimagine a future we will create together.
Diversity means valuing multiple identities and lived experiences. Diversity includes all the ways in which people differ, and it encompasses all the different characteristics that make one individual or group different from another. It is all-inclusive and recognizes everyone and every group as part of the diversity that should be valued. A broad definition includes not only race, ethnicity, and gender — the groups that most often come to mind when the term “diversity” is used — but also age, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, socioeconomic status, education, marital status, language, and physical appearance. It also involves different ideas, perspectives, and values. (Racial Equity Tools)
Equity assures the guarantee of fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement, while at the same time strives to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups. The principle of equity acknowledges there are historically underserved and underrepresented populations and that fairness regarding these unbalanced conditions is needed to assist equality in the provision of effective opportunities to all groups. (UC Berkeley Initiative for Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity)
Inclusion creates environments where peoples’ differences are represented and respected. It is the act of creating environments in which any individual or group can be and feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued for full participation. An inclusive and welcoming climate embraces differences and offers respect in words and actions for all people. (UC Berkeley Initiative for Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity)
Belonging is the essence of feeling your authentic self is welcomed and celebrated. Belonging is full membership. Belongingness entails an unwavering commitment to not simply tolerate and respect differences but to ensure that all people are welcome and feel that they belong in the society. This is the “circle of human concern.” (John A. Powell and Stephen Menendian, “The Problem of Othering: Towards Inclusiveness and Belonging”)
To ensure health for all, nurses and nursing must embrace social justice! Social justice is the view that everyone deserves equal rights and access to wealth, privileges and opportunities — this includes the right to good health. Among the most basic and commonly understood meanings of justice is fairness or reasonableness, especially in the way people are treated or decisions are made. (The American Public Health Association)
Integrating Values Into Work
In pursuit of our values, the Foundation will help nurses and nursing communities to:
- Grow in their DEIB+SJ skills and understanding
- Create multisectoral, evidence informed, structurally competent programs and projects
- Become forward thinking, leading from the future
- Acquire competencies to chart the best path forward and achieve impact
Our understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion is informed by resources made available by nonprofit research organization Independent Sector, particularly their report: “Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Matter.”