Confront Racism in Vanderbilt's Own Past

Several initiatives have  been  implemented to decrease disparities within nursing along ethnic racial lines. In schools of nursing across the United States, a disparity exists within nursing institutions of higher learning where it is estimated that only 16% of all full-time educators are from underrepresented ethnic and racial groups (AACN, 2019). Wanting to increase and advance the number of faculty of color in leadership, Dean Emerita Linda Norman elevated the Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion to that of Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion; the office is held by Dr. Rolanda Johnson, who is African American. This past academic year, Dean Emerita Norman also created an administrative faculty position, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs. Dr. Tamika Hudson, an African American female, was promoted to serve as the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, which is vital to the success of all VUSN students. In the early days of her new role at the helm of VUSN, Dean Pam Jeffries has added equity, diversity, and inclusion to the executive level by making the Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion a member of the Dean’s Leadership Team; this gives EDI greater presence, voice and prominence within VUSN.

The profession of nursing also needs to confront racism in its past. VUSN instituted several  activities,  including a specific anti-racism statement and educational support materials.

VUSN’s Updated Diversity and Inclusivity and Anti-racism Statement

In an effort to promote inclusivity and to underscore a core school of nursing value of antiracism, VUSN revised its diversity and inclusivity statement

in January 2021. The revised statement now incorporates the following italicized paragraph:

At Vanderbilt University School of Nursing (VUSN), we are intentional about and assume accountability for fostering advancement and respect for equity, diversity and inclusion for all students, faculty and staff. We support our efforts with respect for the inherent dignity, worth and unique attributes of every person. To bring to life our vision of inclusive excellence, we seek to recruit, admit, hire, retain, promote and support diverse and underrepresented groups of students, staff and faculty. We value social justice and human rights. We embrace the plurality of humanity that composes our community including, but not limited to, age, race, ethnic origin, gender identity, sexual orientation and religion.

We reject racism of any kind, be it systemic, institutional, or individual. We acknowledge the painful histories related to racism even within the nursing discipline, including education, practice and research. We pledge to not let an unjust past continue to determine the future. We will enact practices which promote anti-racism and social justice across all entities within VUSN.

We affirm the inherent worth of each individual in order to protect, promote and optimize the health and abilities of all people. As educators of advanced practice nurses, nurse scholars, nurse leaders and nurse faculty, we accept the responsibility to foster and graduate highly educated, culturally sensitive health care professionals who provide holistic, culturally appropriate care and mirror the diverse populations they serve.

EDI Teaching Supplements - VUSN Faculty Quick-Guide Inclusive Practices in Nursing Education

A quick guide for developing inclusive lectures and promoting inclusive dialogue with students was developed by Drs. Carol Ziegler and Jannyse Tapp. This quick guide was designed to give faculty brief guidance on optimizing inclusive practices in the classroom and clinical area.

It provides historical information on students’ perceptions in academic and clinical settings. It also offers strategies to promote an inclusive learning environment and additional resources for faculty development that may broaden and improve understanding of diversity and inclusion in education.