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According to the 2019 U.S. Census, African Americans represent only 7.8% of the nursing workforce, although 13.4% of the U.S. population identify as Black. The nursing community has for many years recognized the connection between diverse representation in nursing and reducing healthcare inequities.
This awareness has prompted many professional organizations to focus on the importance of training and recruiting nurses from underrepresented groups, including African Americans.
Read on to learn about nursing organizations that welcome donations and other forms of support to encourage Black nurses to enter and advance in the field.
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Common Challenges Black Nurses Face
Nursing students from all ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic backgrounds often face significant barriers before they can begin a nursing career. The time and cost of undergraduate and graduate education rank among the top challenges for all groups.
Underrepresented minorities in nursing, including Hispanics, African Americans, and other racial and ethnic groups must confront even more barriers as they pursue their career goals. For African Americans from lower income families, earning a nursing degree without receiving financial assistance from government or private funders represents an almost insurmountable challenge.
Even more discouraging for African Americans considering nursing careers is the challenges faced by Black nurses, such as the existence of racism in the workplace. Black nurses continue to experience inhospitable and culturally insensitive work environments. In many cases, these nurses are blocked from leadership positions because of discriminatory hiring and promotion policies and practices.
The nursing field has begun to address concrete ways to level the playing field for Black nurses and other underrepresented groups by providing financial assistance, nursing mentorship programs, and other initiatives.
12 Organizations That Support Black Nurses
Nonprofits and organizations that support Black nurses provide resources for nursing students through nursing scholarships, financial aid for marginalized students, grants, and mentoring. Working nurses can find opportunities for fellowships and professional development to help them advance in their careers.
Whether you want to help close the diversity gap in the nursing workplace by donating or volunteering, or if you seek assistance for yourself, these organizations can give you an idea of available support.
This foundation serves as the corporate social responsibility arm of CVS Health. As part of its commitment to promoting ethnic and racial diversity, CVS offers minority nursing scholarships for graduate work in advanced practice nursing.
The foundation partners with local organizations and international healthcare leaders to promote accessible, affordable healthcare. It also supports minority nurses who choose to work in lower-income areas.
Consult the website for information about community initiatives and corporate-giving opportunities.
AACN is a national organization of nurses dedicated to advancing nursing education. In 2017, AACN established the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiative to identify strategies for advancing diversity in academic nursing programs. It also seeks to eliminate racism in the nursing profession.
Faculty and students from AACN member schools can access resources that include webinars, publications, and funding opportunities.
Nursing administrators, faculty, and students can volunteer on AACN task forces and advisory committees. They can also serve as award and publication reviewers.
Established in 2014, Black Nurses Rock has grown into the largest minority nursing association in the U.S., representing over 174,000 Black nurses.
The organization addresses the needs of historically excluded communities in nursing. It provides mentorship, continuing education, and professional development to its member chapters. It also maintains a strong social media presence that reaches beyond its membership base.
Members can access career support, including a resume guide for nurses, professional discounts, and certification guidance. Black Nurses Rock welcomes donations from members and corporate partners to help support its award and scholarship programs.
4. American Nurses Association/Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Minority Fellowship Program
In partnership with ANA, the SAMHSA Minority Fellowship program funds scholarships for minority students pursuing a master's or doctoral degree related to psychiatric/mental health nursing or specializations in substance use disorders.
Fellowship recipients must demonstrate a commitment to sustaining behavioral health in practice, education, service, or health policy for minority populations.
Fellows must agree to work a minimum of two years in psychiatric/mental health or substance use disorder fields following graduation, promote the Minority Fellowship Program, and participate in the program's learning community.
This campaign, established by the American Association of Retired Persons and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, addresses ways to stop racial discrimination in healthcare. It also addresses how to increase diversity in the nursing workforce.
This initiative works to establish equitable and inclusive professional standards in nursing and promote nursing leadership among minority nurses. It provides opportunities for collaboration among nurses, healthcare providers, consumers, educators, and businesses.
Healthline Media, an online provider of health information, awards three $7,000 scholarships to Black, Hispanic, and Indigenous students committed to reducing health disparities, such as in infant mortality rates, in their communities. Each year, the Healthline and Prevention Institute recognizes outstanding students interested in different health and wellness areas, such as health equity, food security, mental health, and chronic conditions.
The Institute seeks support from other mission-driven organizations and corporate partners interested in helping to identify exceptional students dedicated to breaking down health and wellness barriers.
The Jackie Robinson Foundation offers scholarships to minority students working toward a bachelor's degree. While the award is not specific to nursing degrees, many recipients choose nursing as their intended major.
Applicants must demonstrate financial need, academic achievement, leadership potential, and a desire to help communities in need. The Jackie Robinson Foundation welcomes members who support their vision by donating to their scholarship fund, mentoring, and offering leadership training.
Established in 1971, this professional organization offers networking and collaborative initiatives to its membership of over 200,000 African American registered nurses, licensed vocational/practical nurses, nursing students, and retired nurses. The organization addresses the healthcare needs of Black Americans and provides access to quality care for this community.
Membership benefits include access to a career center, academic publications and research, and continuing education for nurses. The organization encourages members to donate, mentor, and provide community-based healthcare services through their local chapters.
NCEMNA is an umbrella organization that connects minority professional nursing associations to work together for healthcare equity and diversity in the nursing workforce. The organization encourages individuals from historically excluded groups to enter the nursing profession. It provides opportunities to network with nursing professionals across underrepresented populations.
NCEMNA supports minority nurses through programming, scholarships, and advocacy. The organization encourages partnerships with public and private groups to develop research and training initiatives and serve on strategic policy teams.
This NSA committee, launched in 1965, addresses the lack of diversity in nursing and unequal access to healthcare. Over the years, it has established several initiatives to assist underrepresented populations pursuing nursing careers. It sponsors scholarships, monthly awards programs, an annual leadership conference, and online resources.
NSA encourages its members to become involved at the local chapter level through mentoring, joining peer support groups, and participating in conferences.
11. Minority Nurse
This media organization provides resources about minority education, career development, and healthcare issues. Its online career center offers the largest minority nursing jobs board and resume database.
Minority Nurse offers a magazine, employer newsletter, blogs, and webinars that highlight issues of interest to underrepresented groups in nursing. It features nursing schools with highly diverse student bodies and discusses the lack of diversity in hospital administration.
This nonprofit organization encourages donations to support nursing education scholarships for minority nurses at the graduate level.
NEF administers the M. Elizabeth Carnegie African American Scholarship for Black nursing professionals attending a doctoral program. It also offers the Estelle Massey Osborne Scholarship for Black nurses studying for their master's degree.
NEF welcomes donations from nursing educators, pharmaceutical businesses, and private individuals interested in supporting diversity in the nursing profession.
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