Thank you for words of welcome and encouragement to continue working for the Association of Black Nursing Faculty (ABNF), Inc. Your words and actions on behalf of ABNF establish the pace by which the association firmly transforms the ‘gem of an idea’ to realize its vision ‘to reduce healthcare disparities among minority communities;’ to achieve its mission ‘to promote and widely disseminate research and scholarly works of the minority nurse academician;’ and live into its purpose, maintaining opportunities ‘to promote health-related issues and educational interests’ (https://abnf.net/vision-%7C-mission). Your talents, knowledge, and skills are an asset to continuing to illuminate the gem and its reality.
Amid the successes of ABNF, Inc., are the challenges for each member to practice with the knowledge, skills, and activities necessary for professional advancement in academic settings. ABNF is well positioned to support those challenges through its activities and functions. Visit the website to be reminded of the benefits and functions of ABNF, Inc.
Just as navigating academic settings become manageable through tacit plans and with the support of ABNF colleagues, new challenges arise: pandemic, racism, justice, violence. Spring and summer classes across the nation were disrupted by the need for extreme measures to maintain student and patient safety amid a pandemic. Student and faculty safety measures resulted in cancellation of in-person clinical experiences, conversion of laboratory experiences to smaller group experiences, transformation of classroom activities to virtual learning activities, enhancement of simulation for skills development, and more. Further, faculty were challenged to learn more, rapidly, about distance education, remote delivery of content, use of simulation for general healthcare education, simulation specific to nursing education at multiple levels, and delivery of education in an online environment.
Not easy, not quick, or simple; each challenge, complex. Just as faculty and students were set to move forth into summer with safety adjustments for didactic and clinical learning activities, another, more complex, more personal challenge emerged. Overt racism, filmed violence, institutional arrogance, and cries for justice became the center of national and world attention. Negative stress energy and public outrage were compounded exponentially over the course of a few days during the last week of May 2020 over acts that came to light after having occurred weeks earlier but not publicly acknowledged. The nature of tension in America formed additional challenges to cope and to remain professionally productive amid these acts.
Challenged to listen to the nurse within, and to nurse experts we admire, nurses turn to each other. Nurses, families, and friends, we can acknowledge the words of Dr. Bridgette Brawner, PhD, MDiv, APRN, who reminds us to be therapeutic with and among ourselves and loved ones. Strategies she suggests for meeting the current psychological and emotional challenges include taking positive steps toward self-care and self-renewal. Positive steps include doing something for yourself, your own professional growth, your spiritual health, and your emotional growth. You may choose to draft a manuscript, search for an appropriate funding application, write a meditation, share a prayer, take a walk in a park, be still, listen with heart, and mind, and spirit. Dr. Brawner is Chairperson of the National Advisory Council, SAMHSA Minority Fellowship Program, administered by the American Nurses Association. She reminds us to protect ourselves from the traumatizing effects of overindulgence in news, email, or social media.
Therefore, accept the challenge to take care of yourself in preparation to take care of each other. We care best when we take care of ourselves. We share best when hope is refreshed and the glass is kept full. ABNF, Inc. offers a supportive place to lean on one another; and when the time is right, others may lean on you. Find your peace. Build a positive reality. Advance community and profession.Be well, be safe, be aware,
Patsy R. Smith, PhD, RN, CNE
Association of Black Nursing Faculty, Inc