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Wharton Co-Authors Article on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Academic Nursing

  By Ivy Burruto
  Monday, February 28, 2022

Mitchell Wharton, PhD, RN, FNP-BC, CNS

A diverse nursing workforce continues to become more important as institutions seek the goal of achieving health equity, but remains an arduous task across the care continuum.

Achieving equity within health care starts with the increase of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) practitioners in academic nursing, according to Mitchell Wharton, PhD, RN, FNP-BC, CNS, associate dean for equity and inclusion and associate professor of clinical nursing at the University of Rochester School of Nursing.

Wharton recently co-authored an article titled, “The Rise of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Practitioners in Academic Nursing,” for the Racism and Nurses: Diverse Perspectives issue of The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing. The peer-reviewed online publication addresses current topics affecting nursing practice, research, education, and the wider health care sector.

In the article, Wharton and co-authors Sheldon D. Fields, PhD, RN, FNP-BC, AACRN, FNAP, FAANP, FAAN, Kupiri Ackerman-Barger, PhD, RN, CNE, ANEF, FAAN, Lisa M. Lewis, PhD, RN, FAAN, FAHA and Kenya V. Beard, EdD, AGACNP-BC, CNE, ANEF, FAAN, delve into the racial and ethnic cracks across federal, national, and institutional levels that have excluded Black nurses from white nursing programs, which have undermined efforts to bolster the diversity of nursing.

Wharton and the co-authors illustrate the role that DEI practitioners play in co-creating environments where all individuals have a sense of belonging. They offer recommendations on how to successfully establish a space for a new generation of DEI practitioners who are positioned to craft policies and practices within their respective departments, colleges, or schools of nursing. More specifically, they suggest best practices for scope, titling, authority, time allocation, compensation and staffing.

“Achieving a racially and ethnically diverse workforce requires the unraveling of the exclusionary foundations health care institutions have put in place. That begins with who is allowed into the classroom,” said Wharton. “From there, we need to chart a clearly defined path for DEI practitioners to succeed just as their white counterparts have for generations. Only then can we begin to rebuild and achieve health equity.”

The full article is available to read for American Nurses Association members. Access to the article will be granted for the public on May 31, 2022.

Categories: Research, Diversity

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