Nurses seek movement on racial reckoning after ANA apology

It has been about two months since the American Nurses Association adopted a statement apologizing to nurses of color and ethnic minority nursing organizations for its role in perpetuating racism. Now nurses of color say the apology is a positive step and are calling for action, USA Today reported Aug. 16.

The ANA Membership Assembly, the group's governing and official voting body, adopted the ANA's "racial reckoning statement" on June 11.

"Throughout our history, the American Nurses Association has sought to lead nursing into the future," the statement begins. "Through acts of omission, when we failed to act, and commission, when ANA's actions negatively impacted nurses of color, we have caused harm and perpetuated systemic racism. This statement serves as a starting point for a journey during which we seek to acknowledge past actions that continue to impact the profession today and as a starting point of a new journey toward the future."

The ANA released the statement as part of what it deems its racial reckoning journey. It highlights examples of circumstances when the ANA did not include and represent the views and needs of nurses of color.   

The letter concludes with an apology and a list of actions being taken by the ANA. Actions include remaining a partner in and supporting the National Commission to Address Racism in Nursing as well as backing appropriate representation and inclusion in educational material.

Kechi Iheduru-Anderson, DNP, a nurse education leader at Mount Pleasant-based Central Michigan University, and other nurses said the acknowledgement of racism in the field is belated and hope it will make a difference, according to USA Today.

Kia Skrine Jeffers, PhD, RN, an assistant professor at the University of California Los Angeles, told the publication: "What's needed is transformation from the outside in, meaning from the structural policy level, but also from the inside out, and that's from the membership and the leaders."

Phyllis Sharps, PhD, MSN, RN, nursing professor emerita at Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University, also told the publication she wants a greater focus on retaining nurses of color via environments aimed at equity and inclusion.

Read the full USA Today report here.

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