On October 5, 2022, Vanessa Cameron, MSN, RN, NPD-BC, CEN, CNL, Jean Carraher, DNP, RN, NPD-BC, NE-BC, CCRN-K, and Latrina T. Geyer, PhD, RN, NPD-BC, NEA-BC, will present their webinar “Social Equity: Assessment, Processes, and Measurable Outcomes,” which will address Standard 9. Respectful and Equitable Practice in the 4th edition of the Nursing Professional Development: Scope & Standards of Practice. The addition of this Standard serves to guide NPD practitioners in their daily work to achieve equity within the healthcare space.
Cameron, Carraher, and Geyer jointly identified a need for a Standard that encapsulated advocacy for the NPD specialty. The surge of inequities and social injustices at the start of the pandemic began to bleed into healthcare, augmenting existing disparities.
“In our Scope and Standards of Practice, we had almost no mention of any sort of equity or diversity, and inclusion language,” says Carraher. “I asked both Vanessa and Trina why that language wasn’t in there and if we should add it. We all had a light bulb go off and proceeded to get approval for the addition.”
According to Cameron, there are myriad documented disparities in healthcare, specifically as they relate to the quality of care given. Just as this Standard is an important stepping stone for care delivered to broader populations, it is also crucial in providing career advancement opportunities to those within marginalized communities.
“I think the way this Standard creates a new area of focus and the way that it starts to push nursing professional development into the arena of social justice, specifically as it applies to healthcare, is really important,” says Cameron. “This particular Standard is meant to extend beyond the populations that we serve and help us examine our own organizations to ensure marginalized groups have the same career advancement opportunities.”
To Carraher, understanding cultural nuances is key in achieving equity in healthcare. Actively considering facets of a specific culture enhance the patient experience and ensure boundaries are being respected.
“When we talk about Standard 9, it's not intended to just encompass the elements of race or color. We really wanted it to be able to focus on social determinants of health, because those have huge impacts in the work that nurses do,” says Carraher.
The implementation of Standard 9 comes with its own set of challenges given its inherent nuances. Diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice look different when comparing countries, states, and individual communities at the local level. It is vital for NPD practitioners to consider these fundamental differences in their approach to implementing this Standard in their daily practice.
“There is no one size fits all solution,” says Cameron. “In order to create respectful and equitable practice, the needs are going to vary based on the geographical location, the organization's culture, mission, vision and values, the specific needs of the community, the demographics you serve, and especially the intersectionality. People need to be comfortable with the environmental scanning principle and understand how to connect both within and outside of their organizations in order to really make progress.”
Although a seemingly daunting task, Cameron, Carraher and Geyer devised certain strategies to aid in broader implementation of this Standard into NPD practice.
“Some of the things that Vanessa, Trina and I talked about extensively were just getting to know yourself and better understanding your own biases,” says Carraher. “It’s important to take time to reflect on everything from word choice to an individual’s unique situation. For example, if you have a nurse in class who is breastfeeding and needs extra time to go pump, or a student that needs to take time to pray during class, you should change your approach with those considerations in mind.”
When it comes to measuring the success of these strategies, Cameron emphasizes the crucial role of environmental scanning, specifically when identifying major disparities.
“This comes full circle back to our educational design process and identifying measurable outcomes early,” says Cameron. “For instance, in my organization, we recently identified that there was a disparity in the length of time from arrival to the emergency department to being seen by an emergency physician, based on race and ethnicity. By tracking this type of data, we can put interventions in place to improve how we’re delivering care and create safer spaces for those in marginalized communities.”
Be sure to register for “Social Equity: Assessment, Processes, and Measurable Outcomes” taking place on October 5, 2022 from 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm CT.